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Detecting tipping points in mutualistic communities

Dakos V & Bascompte J (2014). Critical slowing down as early warning for the onset of collapse in mutualistic communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 11, 17546–551. doi:10.1073/pnas.1406326111

Little is known on whether structurally diverse ecological networks may respond abruptly to anthropogenic stress and even less on our ability to detect such responses in advance. By simulating mutualistic communities en route to a tipping point, we show how critical slowing-down indicators may be used as early warnings for the collapse of ecological networks. Our findings not only confirm the existence of the generic dynamical signatures of tipping points in ecological networks but also suggest a promising way for identifying most vulnerable components in a broad class of networks at the brink of collapse.

10 Dec 2014

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