In this just published paper we develop a framework of detecting tipping points in the context of mutualistic networks. Under a scenario of global environmental change that might affect species interactions we show how indicators of resilience could provide early warning in complex communities such as those represented by the network of interactions between plants and their animal mutualists. This work is a first step towards quantifying the risk of network collapse and the possibility to monitor community resilience based on best-indicator species.
Regime shifts have been a long sought theme of research in marine ecosystems. Controversies, new methods and alternative hypotheses on how to study and understand such marine regime shifts are summarized in the special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society on Marine regime shifts around the globe: theory, drivers and impacts that just appeared online. Thus, we couldn’t think of a better place to publish a review-research paper on the use and misuse of resilience indicators as early warnings for regime shifts in marine but not only systems.
Together with David Seekel and Jessica Gephart, we are organizing a session on regime shifts in the upcoming American Society for Limnology & Oceanography conference in Granada, Spain in February 2015. The abstract submission is open with a deadline on the 10th of October 2014.
A new experience attending a conference of another community for the first time. European Conference on Complex Systems in Lucca Italy. A mix of physicists, mathematicians and engineers. Probably few ecologists and biologists, although one of the complex systems track on the conference is about living systems. I hope I can get inspired and make some new connections with my talk.
Just a week before the resilience conference 2014 in Montpellier a short brochure of our forthcoming book on “Principles for Building Resilience: Sustaining Ecosystem Services in Social-Ecological Systems” (Cambridge University Press, 2014) has become available by the Stockholm Resilience Center. The brochure summarizes the expanded treatment of resilience principles as we have discussed in an earlier paper “Towards principles for enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services“.
Recently our paper on spatial indicators for critical transitions was published in PloS One. In this paper we summarize methods and create a flowchart for looking for indicators of upcoming transitions in spatial data. It is a natural follow-up paper from our previous work on methods for timeseries. The methods of the paper are now summarized in the spatial indicators section of the EWS toolbox website together with the actual R code.
Our submission of an interactive visualization version of the earlywarnings R package for critical transitions in the Data Challenge competition organised by the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation got into the 4 finalists. Although we didn’t get the first place, the judges were very flattering and Leo Lahti and myself are really proud to have made it that far in a short time. We hope that this will be a kick into developing more the package and making it more interactive and available. You can read more on it here.
A first joint work in my new lab of Jordie Bascompte got published in Nature Communications few weeks ago. By simulating mutualistic communities of 57 empirical plant pollinator and plant seed-disperser networks we identify scenarios where species’ tolerance is extremely sensitive to the direction of change in the strength of mutualistic interaction, as well as to the observed mutualistic trade-offs between the number of partners and the strength of the interactions.
After an invitation by Alan Hastings (editor-in-chief) and a year of preparation, the current issue of Theoretical Ecology is dedicated on Early Warnings and Regime Shifts.
The issue contains 11 original research papers from key contributors of the topic ranging from data analysis, to theoretical considerations, lake ecosystems to disease epidemics. We hope it will have a strong impact in the further development of anticipating regime shifts in complex systems.
There is a lot of interest on the limits of resilience indicators and on whether they are uniquely associated with catastrophic transitions. We tried to shed light on that question in a short piece that just appeared in Oikos. There, we show that the same early warnings may signal non catastrophic transitions, but the same transitions are as well bifurcation points. Thus, it is not surprising that the same expectations for signals of deteriorating resilience are universal prior to any (local) bifurcation. The challenge remains in finding signals that would be specific to the catastrophic, unexpected, and irreversible shifts.
highlighted in Editor’s choice in Oikos