SparcS Center

Egbert van Nes

Egbert van Nes holds a MSc in Environmental Science at Wageningen Agricultural University (1986). Currently, he occupies a position as researcher at the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality group of Wageningen University, The Netherlands.  In 2002, he finished his PhD Thesis entitled "Controlling complexity in individual-based models of aquatic vegetation and fish communities". For this work, he developed the individual-based models Charisma (macrophytes) and Piscator (fish). 

Currently his research is largely focused on the phenomena of alternative stable states and complex dynamics in ecosystems. Among others he studied the occurrence of multiple attractors in models of complex networks of competing species. Furthermore the effect of spatial heterogeneity on critical transitions was studied in models. Recently, he studied critical slowing down as early warning signal for critical transitions between alternative stable states. In a different line of work, he developed with Marten Scheffer a new theory that reconciles the niche and neutral theory. Furthermore, he contributes to numerous PhD projects on a broad range of ecological subjects and is member of the editorial board of the American Naturalist.

Current projects: ERC Early Warning Signals, CRITICS ITNNESSC

Keywords: theoretical ecology, resilience, critical transitions, resilience indicators, ecological models, MATLAB



Publication list (Google scholar)



Some selected publications:


What Do You Mean, "Tipping Point"?

van Nes, E.H., Arani, B.M.S., Staal, A., van der Bolt, B., Flores, B.M., Bathiany, S. & Scheffer, M. (2016)

Trends in Ecology & Evolution 31 (12):902–904 [Full text]

Causal feedbacks in climate change

van Nes, E.H., Scheffer, M., Brovkin, V., Lenton, T.M., Ye, H., Deyle, E. & Sugihara, G. (2015)

Nature Climate Change 5:445–448 [Full text]

Critical slowing down as early warning for the onset and termination of depression

van de Leemput, I.A., Wichers, M., Cramer, A.O.J., Borsboom, D., Tuerlinckx, F., Kuppens, P., van Nes, E.H., Viechtbauer, W., Giltay, E.J., Aggen, S.H., Derom, C., Jacobs, N., Kendler, K.S., van der Maas, H.L.J., Neale, M.C., Peeters, F., Thiery, E., Zachar, P. & Scheffer, M. (2014)

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (1):87-92 [Full text]

Anticipating critical transitions

Scheffer, M., Carpenter, S.R., Lenton, T.M., Bascompte, J., Brock, W., Dakos, V., van de Koppel, J., van de Leemput, I.A., Levin, S.A., van Nes, E.H., Pascual, M. & Vandermeer, J. (2012)

Science 338 (6105):344-348 [Full text]

Global resilience of tropical forest and savanna to critical transitions

Hirota, M., Holmgren, M., Van Nes, E.H. & Scheffer, M. (2011)

Science 334 (6053):232-235 [Full text]

Early-warning signals for critical transitions

Scheffer, M., Bascompte, J., Brock, W.A., Brovkin, V., Carpenter, S.R., Dakos, V., Held, H., van Nes, E.H., Rietkerk, M. & Sugihara, G. (2009)

Nature 461 (7260):53-59 [Full text]

Self-organized similarity, the evolutionary emergence of groups of similar species

Scheffer, M. & Van Nes, E.H. (2006)

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 103 (16):6230-6235 [Full text]