Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 439909
Title The resilience and resistance of an ecosystem to a collapse of diversity
Author(s) Downing, A.S.; Nes, E.H. van; Mooij, W.M.; Scheffer, M.
Source PLoS One 7 (2012)9. - ISSN 1932-6203
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0046135
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) lake victoria - stable states - east-africa - coral-reefs - nile perch - food-web - biodiversity - productivity - communities - populations
Abstract Diversity is expected to increase the resilience of ecosystems. Nevertheless, highly diverse ecosystems have collapsed, as did Lake Victoria's ecosystem of cichlids or Caribbean coral reefs. We try to gain insight to this paradox, by analyzing a simple model of a diverse community where each competing species inflicts a small mortality pressure on an introduced predator. High diversity strengthens this feedback and prevents invasion of the introduced predator. After a gradual loss of native species, the introduced predator can escape control and the system collapses into a contrasting, invaded, low-diversity state. Importantly, we find that a diverse system that has high complementarity gains in resilience, whereas a diverse system with high functional redundancy gains in resistance. Loss of resilience can display early-warning signals of a collapse, but loss of resistance not. Our results emphasize the need for multiple approaches to studying the functioning of ecosystems, as managing an ecosystem requires understanding not only the threats it is vulnerable to but also pressures it appears resistant to
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