There is still time to submit your abstract in our satellite session on Robustness, Adaptability and Critical Transitions in Living Systems during the upcoming conference of the Complex Systems Society in Thessaloniki, Greece from the 23-28 of September 2018.
Deadline for abstract submission is the 27th of June 2018.
It has been difficult to predict how weather extremes such as heat waves and cold snaps might change in a future climate. In this paper, we continue our long-term studies on climate variability, by looking at climate model predictions on future temperatures. We find that rich countries that contribute most to climate change will see less temperature fluctuation, whereas in poor countries the fluctuations will become stronger.
Just back from the British Ecological Society 2017 Conference in Ghent, Belgium. First expedition with my new colleagues from the BioDICee team in Montpellier. I was happy to see great talks, meet old and new friends, and present new work on how adaptation matters for understanding tipping points.
Back in 2012, we started exploring how patterns in the magnitude and persistence of fluctuations in instrumental records of temperature and their major global sea and land indices might have changed during the last century. Our objective was to identify regions where climate variability and autocorrelation might have markedly increased potentially due to anthropogenic forcing. We just published the results of this work in a paper titled Observed trends in the magnitude and persistence of monthly temperature variability. The main findings are summarised here.
We just published a study on signatures of instability in empirical time series from five freshwater ecosystems with documented sudden, persistent transitions hypothesized to represent critical transitions. We detected strong variation in early warning indicators, and a low agreement between the four indicators we tested. We conclude that the applicability of these tools was strongly limited by the requirement for ecosystem-specific knowledge of transition-generating mechanisms and their drivers to choose relevant state variables for analysis, especially in monitored systems that are not explicitly designed for estimating this type of indicators.
In the just published PAGES issue of Past Global Changes there is a science highlight on Tipping points or “Lessons from the Past for the Future” as the editorial suggests. In ten short 2-page contributions the most up-to-date ideas about past climatic transitions are highlighted together with examples from ecological and socio-ecological abrupt shifts. We have contributed in this issue a short piece on how the shift of the Sahara has been shaping our thinking about abrupt change.
Strongly coupled socio-ecological systems propagate their effects and disturbances one to the other. This has been demonstrated in most studies of human management of common resources. In recent work, we show that indicators of decreasing resilience can also propagate from one system to the other. For example, an increasingly harvested fish stock might reflect its eroding resilience in the profits of its harvesters. This generally implies that monitoring socio-economic variables that are linked to natural resources can indicate the resilience of the socio-ecological coupled system as a whole.
After 3 beautiful years in Spain, I am getting quite excited starting up a new postdoc position in Switzerland at ETH in Zurich. I will be part of a multidisciplinary program bringing together geneticists, ecologists, and biologists studying empirically and theoretically adaptation to a changing environment.
Only a handful of studies demonstrate the existence of hysteresis in bistable systems. In a follow-up from our earlier work, we study the recovery trajectory of a light-stressed plankton population in a chemostat experiment (early view in Oikos). We find that reverse trajectories can be explained by hysteresis, time-delays and adaptive process, all of which pose interesting questions for the behavior of bistable systems under changing conditions.
Recently, we summarized a set of measures that can be used as spatial indicators for detecting loss of resilience. We now add another measure that can be used as early warning of critical transitions in spatially explicit systems: spatial heteroskedasticity. In short, this indicator is the analog of conditional heteroskedasticity in timeseries (the non constant variance along a timeseries). We now expand its use from indicator of critical transitions in timeseries to spatial data (early view in Ecology & Evolution).
We tried to bring together evidence of how the widely discussed notion of resilience can be beneficial in sustaining the equally discoursed ecosystem services in the context of social-ecological systems. That is building resilience looking at both parts of the equation: the environmental setting and the human component. A multidisciplinary project around the theme of resilience that started from a get-together 7 years ago, turned into a paper and made it into a book.
Book Summary: As both the societies and the world in which we live face increasingly rapid and turbulent changes, the concept of resilience has become an active and important research area. Reflecting the very latest research, this book provides a critical review of the ways in which resilience of social-ecological systems, and the ecosystem services they provide, can be enhanced. With contributions from leaders in the field, the chapters are structured around seven key principles for building resilience: maintain diversity and redundancy; manage connectivity; manage slow variables and feedbacks; foster complex adaptive systems thinking; encourage learning; broaden participation; and promote polycentric governance. The authors assess the evidence in support of these principles, discussing their practical application and outlining further research needs. Intended for researchers, practitioners and graduate students, this is an ideal resource for anyone working in resilience science and for those in the broader fields of sustainability science, environmental management and governance.