Flickering: Foretelling Crisis in an Ecosystem

Nourish Boston

In a recent study, published in Nature, a group of scientists have pioneered a method to predict when an ecosystem is likely to collapse. By utilizing samples collected from a particular ecosystem and applying their mathematical model to recognize fluctuations in the health of an ecosystem, the tipping point and eventual collapse (or recovery) of an ecosystem can be predicted. 

The study posits that ecosystems will ‘wobble’ or ‘flicker’ back and forth between alternative states of recovery and crisis in response to relatively large external impacts before a critical transition, or tipping point.

Scientists applied their theory to a real world scenario—the environmental collapse of Lake Erhai in Yunnan Province, China. They collected sediment samples of the lake and graphed and analyzed the levels of fossilized algae over a 125-year period as a measure of the lake’s health. 

From this data, they extrapolated that the algae communities remained stable…

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One response to “Flickering: Foretelling Crisis in an Ecosystem

  1. Pingback: Another Week of Climate Disruption News, April 27, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered

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