Global change and the stability of ecosystems
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Seminar in English)
Human actions challenge nature in many ways. Ecological responses are complex, demanding measures that describe them succinctly. Collectively, these measures encapsulate the overall ‘stability’ of the system. However, ecologists have taken an inconsistent and one-dimensional approach to both disturbances and stability. This has led to confused communication of the nature of stability and the level of our insight into it. As a consequence, the policy literature is replete with terms relating to stability that are ill-defined and unmeasureable. We have a remarkably poor understanding of the impacts on stability of the characteristics that define many, perhaps all, of the most important elements of global change. I will describe what we know about stability and discuss solutions for how we can reduce the disconnect between ecology and policy and incorporate the multidimensional complexity of natural responses to environmental change into environmental research, policies and actions.
Donohue, I., Petchey, O.L., Montoya, J.M., Jackson, A.L., McNally, L., Viana, M., et al. (2013). On the dimensionality of ecological stability. Ecology Letters, 16, 421–429.
Donohue, I., Hillebrand, H., Montoya, J.M., Petchey, O.L., Pimm, S.L., Fowler, M.S., et al. (2016). Navigating the complexity of ecological stability. Ecology Letters, 19, 1172–1185.