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Long transients in ecology: Theory and applications

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-03-05, 16:33 authored by Andrew Morozov, K Abbott, K Cuddington, T Francis, G Gellner, A Hastings, YC Lai, S Petrovskii, K Scranton, ML Zeeman
This paper discusses the recent progress in understanding the properties of transient dynamics in complex ecological systems. Predicting long-term trends as well as sudden changes and regime shifts in ecosystems dynamics is a major issue for ecology as such changes often result in population collapse and extinctions. Analysis of population dynamics has traditionally been focused on their long-term, asymptotic behavior whilst largely disregarding the effect of transients. However, there is a growing understanding that in ecosystems the asymptotic behavior is rarely seen. A big new challenge for theoretical and empirical ecology is to understand the implications of long transients. It is believed that the identification of the corresponding mechanisms along with the knowledge of scaling laws of the transient's lifetime should substantially improve the quality of long-term forecasting and crisis anticipation. Although transient dynamics have received considerable attention in physical literature, research into ecological transients is in its infancy and systematic studies are lacking. This text aims to partially bridge this gap and facilitate further progress in quantitative analysis of long transients in ecology. By revisiting and critically examining a broad variety of mathematical models used in ecological applications as well as empirical facts, we reveal several main mechanisms leading to the emergence of long transients and hence lays the basis for a unifying theory.

Funding

NIMBioS (The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, Knoxville TN) in 2017-19

History

Citation

Physics of Life Reviews, in press

Author affiliation

Department of Mathematics

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Physics of Life Reviews

Publisher

Elsevier BV

issn

1571-0645

eissn

1873-1457

Acceptance date

2019-09-09

Copyright date

2019

Publisher version

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064519301447#ac0010

Spatial coverage

Netherlands

Language

eng

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