Eco-evolutionary tipping points

quantifying resilience in ecology and evolution under global environmental change

Although the ecological dynamics of ecosystem tipping points are well studied, the interplay between tipping point responses, ecosystem resilience and the phenotypic structure of populations are poorly understood. For instance, we do not consider how phenotypic variation and change (that we term here as evolutionary processes) can affect species interactions that could ultimately affect the resilience of whole ecosystems. Specifically, resilience theory is missing an appreciation for the rapid pace of trait evolution in natural populations, the importance of co-evolution for ecological dynamics, and the potential for reciprocal feedbacks between ecological and evolutionary processes to govern the stability of ecosystems in changing environments. We are currently developing a theoretical framework for understanding the potential impacts of eco-evolutionary dynamics on resilience and tipping point responses in ecosystems under stress

further reading:

  • Dakos V, Matthews B, Hendry A, Levine J,  Loeuille N, Norberg J, Nosil P, Scheffer M, De Meester L (2019) Ecosystem tipping points in an evolving world. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3, 355–362. doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0797-2
  • Chaparro Pedraza PC, Matthews B, de Meester L,  Dakos V (2021). Adaptive Evolution Can Both Prevent Ecosystem Collapse and Delay Ecosystem Recovery. The American Naturalist 198:E185–E197. doi:10.1086/716929