This material has been published in the open access e-book Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2013 (2013, pp. 625-632. The MIT Press), the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by the publishers.

Detecting regime shifts in artificial ecosystems

Vasthi Alonso Chavez, C. Patrick Doncaster, John A. Dearing, Rong Wang, Jing-Lun Huang and James G. Dyke

Ecosystems are subjected to a range of perturbations that have the potential to induce relatively sharp transitions in states. These can be referred to as regime shifts or critical transitions. They may be driven by perturbations that vary over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, from responses to deforestation within a small field to responses to the gradual increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. Here we investigate potential early warning signals that may presage regime shifts in model ecosystems. We hypothesise and model a relationship between biodiversity and community structure that influences ecosystem structure. We argue that Artificial Life methodologies have potential to make substantial contributions to efforts searching to predict large changes in ecosystems and other elements in the Earth system, as there is a recognised limitation in empirical data and ability to conduct experiments in the real-world. Consequently simulation and exploration of the low-level mechanisms that give rise to regime shifts in artificial in-silico ecosystems represents a useful line of enquiry.

See the full article at Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2013 (2013, pp. 625-632. The MIT Press).

Return to home page