Mar 28, 2016

EVIDENCE FOR ALTERNATE STABLE STATES IN COLLAPSING ECOLOGICAL NETWORKS

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Suresh Babu, Gitanjali Yadav

Abstract

There has been considerable interest and progress in our perception of organized complexity in recent years. Recurrent debates on the dynamics and stability of complex systems have enriched our understanding of these systems, but generalities in the relationship between structure and dynamics are hard to come by. Although traditionally an arena for theoreticians, much of this research has been invigorated by demonstration of the existence of alternate stable equilibria in real world ecosystems such as lakes, coral reefs, forests and grasslands. Linking up systems thinking with recent advances in our understanding of ecological networks opens up exciting possibilities. In an attempt to obtain general patterns of behaviour of complex systems, we have analyzed the response of eighty-six real world ecological networks to targeted extinctions, and the findings suggest that most networks are robust to loss of specialists until specific thresholds are reached in terms of geodesics. If the extinctions persist, a state change or flip occurs and the structural properties are altered drastically, although the network does not collapse. Further, we find that as opposed to simpler networks, larger networks have several such alternate states...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Neural Networks
Patterns
Research
Grassland
Specialty Physician
Structure
Perception
Factor VII
Cell Invasion

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