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Warning Signals of Regime Shifts as Intrinsic Properties of Endogenous Dynamics


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Fung, T, Seymour, RM and Johnson, CR 2013 , 'Warning Signals of Regime Shifts as Intrinsic Properties of Endogenous Dynamics' , The American Naturalist, vol. 182, no. 2 , pp. 208-222 , doi: 10.1086/670930.

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Ecosystem dynamics can exhibit large, nonlinear changes
after small changes in an environmental parameter that passes a
critical threshold. These regime shifts are often associated with loss
of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Because critical thresholds for
regime shifts are hard to determine with precision, some recent studies
have focused on deriving signals from dynamics leading up to
the thresholds. Models in these studies depend on using noise terms
independent of system parameters and variables to add stochasticity.
However, demographic stochasticity, an important source of random
variability, arises directly from system dynamics. In this study, a
framework is developed for modeling demographic stochasticity in
a mechanistic way, incorporating system variables and parameters.
This framework is applied to a deterministic, dynamic model of a
coral reef benthos. The resulting stochastic model indicates that increasing
variance—but not skewness—is consistently found in system
dynamics approaching a critical threshold of grazing pressure. Even
if the threshold is breached, attraction of transient dynamics by a
saddle point provides an opportunity for regime shift reversal by
management intervention. These results suggest that early warning
signals of regime shifts can arise intrinsically in endogenous dynamics
and can be detected without reliance on random environmental

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Fung, T and Seymour, RM and Johnson, CR
Journal or Publication Title: The American Naturalist
ISSN: 0003-0147
DOI / ID Number: 10.1086/670930
Additional Information:

Copyright 2013 University of Chicago Press

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