Ecosystem dynamics may exhibit alternative stable states induced by positive feedbacks between the state of the system and environmental drivers. Bistable systems are prone to abrupt shifts from one state to another in response to even small and gradual changes in external drivers. These transitions are often catastrophic and difficult to predict by analyzing the mean state of the system. Indicators of the imminent occurrence of phase transitions can serve as important tools to warn ecosystem managers about an imminent transition before the bifurcation point is actually reached. Thus, leading indicators of phase transitions can be used either to prepare for or to prevent the occurrence of a shift to the other state. In recent years, theories of leading indicators of ecosystem shift have been developed and applied to a variety of ecological models and geophysical time series. It is unclear, however, how some of these indicators would perform in the case of systems with a delay. Here, we develop a theoretical framework for the investigation of precursors of state shift in the presence of drivers acting with a delay. We discuss how the effectiveness of leading indicators of state shift based on rising variance may be affected by the presence of delays. We apply this framework to an ecological model of desertification in arid grasslands.
|Titolo:||Precursors of state transitions in stochastic systems with delay|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1007/s12080-013-0188-2|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|