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New publication: Predicting the collapse of ecological networks

Predicting the collapse of ecological networks

Mutualistic networks of plants and their pollinators are considered the 'architecture' of biodiversity and have played an important role in maintaining diversity on Earth. The response to perturbations introduced by global change tends to be abrupt rather than gradual, which may lead to the collapse of these networks and the services they provide, such as pollination of agricultural fields. Using the structure of 79 empirical mutualistic networks, the study tested developed critical slowing-down indicators as early-warning signals for detecting the proximity to a potential tipping point. Findings not only confirm the existence of the generic dynamical signatures of tipping points in ecological networks but also suggest a promising way for identifying most vulnerable components in a broad class of networks at the brink of collapse. informacion [at] Dakos et al. (2014) Critical slowing down as early warning for the onset of collapse in mutualistic communities PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1406326111 CSIC NdP