Journal Article


Sumithra SankaranSabiha MajumderAshwin ViswanathanVishwesha Guttal
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Clustering and correlations: Inferring resilience from spatial patterns in ecosystems

In diverse ecosystems, organisms cluster together in such a manner that the frequency distribution of cluster sizes is a power law function. Spatially explicit computational models of ecosystems suggest that a loss of such power law clustering may indicate a loss of ecosystem resilience; the empirical evidence in support for this hypothesis has been mixed. On the other hand, a well‐known dynamical feature of systems with reduced resilience is the slower recovery from perturbations, a phenomenon known as critical slowing down (CSD). Here, we examine the relationship between spatial clustering and CSD to better understand the use of cluster size distributions as indicators of ecosystem resilience.