Theoretical Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 253–254 | Cite as

Editorial: special issue on regime shifts and tipping points in ecology

  • V. Dakos
  • A. HastingsEmail author

It is an old idea in ecology that environmental change can induce rapid transformations at times impossible to reverse. Early manipulation experiments hinted that coastal communities could organize into different distinct configurations after a disturbance (Dayton 1971). Along these lines, a theory of multiple stable states had been developed (Holling 1973; Lewontin 1969) to explain patterns in coral reefs, semiarid ecosystems, shallow lakes, or fisheries (Scheffer et al. 2001), even if experimental evidence for alternative states has been debated (Schroder et al. 2005). Nonetheless, the intuition behind the possibility of shifting between alternative attractors at the cost of small interventions (aka small events can have big consequences) has precipitated from ecology, to the study of climatic events, social transformations, and even to the way of understanding banking systems. These ideas have led to lively discussions about the possible existence of tipping points at which...


Early Warning Critical Transition Alternative State Ecological Resilience Semiarid Ecosystem 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrative Ecology GroupEstación Biológica de DoñanaSevillaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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