Marten Scheffer currently leads the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group at Wageningen University. He is interested in unraveling the mechanisms that determine the stability and resilience of complex systems. Although much of his work has focused on the ecosystems of lakes, he also worked with a range of scientists from other disciplines to address issues of stability and shifts in natural and social systems. Examples include the feedback between atmospheric carbon and the earth temperature, the collapse of ancient societies, inertia and shifts in public opinion, evolutionary emergence of patterns of species similarity, the effect of climatic extremes on forest dynamics and the balance of facilitation and competition in plant communities. With the help of a Spinoza award and an ERC advanced grant he now works on finding generic early warning signals for critical transitions.
He is member of the editorial boards of ‘Ecosystems’ and ‘Ecology and Society’, and wrote two scientific books (‘Ecology of Shallow Lakes’ with Kluwer and ‘Critical Transitions in Nature and Society’ with Princeton University press), and a popular science book (‘Vijver, Sloot en Plas’ with Jan Cuppen for Tirion publishers). Scheffer is at the Scientific Boards of the Beijer Institute and the European Santa Fe institute ‘Para Limens’. He is currently working with a team from ten countries to set up the ‘South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies’ SARAS.
An example of a lecture by Marten Scheffer at the Stockholm Resilience Center.
(cartoon by Henk van Ruitenbeek)
Marten Scheffer is also a musician, playing violin, mandoline and guitar. For examples of his work see his website http://martenscheffermusic.com.
Concerted Science in an experiment in combining reason and intuition in a performance with music and science (see announcement [in Dutch]). It has been performed in 2012 and 2013.
See concerted science for one of the shows (50 minutes in Dutch with English subtitles).
|A book on critical transitions with examples |
from ecosystems, climate and social systems.
|A cd with new compositions for percussion, |
wind and string instruments.
Some recent key publications:
The forgotten half of scientific thinking
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 (17):6119 [Full text]
Anticipating critical transitions
Science 338 (6105):344-348 [Full text]
Recovery rates reflect distance to a tipping point in a living system
Nature 481 (7381):357-359 [Full text]
Global resilience of tropical forest and savanna to critical transitions
Science 334 (6053):232-235 [Full text]
Trophic downgrading of planet earth
Science 333 (6040):301-306 [Full text]
A safe operating space for humanity
Nature 461 (7263):472-475 [Full text]
Early-warning signals for critical transitions
Nature 461 (7260):53-59 [Full text]
Self-organized similarity, the evolutionary emergence of groups of similar species
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 103 (16):6230-6235 [Full text]