Harnessing tipping points in complex ecological networks

Junjie Jiang, Alan Hastings, Ying-Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Complex and nonlinear ecological networks can exhibit a tipping point at which a transition to a global extinction state occurs. Using real-world mutualistic networks of pollinators and plants as prototypical systems and taking into account biological constraints, we develop an ecologically feasible strategy to manage/control the tipping point by maintaining the abundance of a particular pollinator species at a constant level, which essentially removes the hysteresis associated with a tipping point. If conditions are changing so as to approach a tipping point, the management strategy we describe can prevent sudden drastic changes. Additionally, if the system has already moved past a tipping point, we show that a full recovery can occur for reasonable parameter changes only if there is active management of abundance, again due essentially to removal of the hysteresis. This recovery point in the aftermath of a tipping point can be predicted by a universal, two-dimensional reduced model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of the Royal Society, Interface
Volume16
Issue number158
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 27 2019

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Hysteresis
Recovery

Keywords

  • complex networks
  • ecosystem management
  • mutualistic networks
  • nonlinear dynamics
  • species recovery
  • tipping point

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering

Cite this

Harnessing tipping points in complex ecological networks. / Jiang, Junjie; Hastings, Alan; Lai, Ying-Cheng.

In: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, Vol. 16, No. 158, 27.09.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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