Tipping point and noise-induced transients in ecological networks

Yu Meng, Ying-Cheng Lai* (Corresponding Author), Celso Grebogi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A challenging and outstanding problem in interdisciplinary research is to understand the interplay between transients and stochasticity in high-dimensional dynamical systems. Focusing on the tipping-point dynamics in complex mutualistic networks in ecology constructed from empirical data, we investigate the phenomena of noise-induced collapse and noise-induced recovery. Two types of noise are studied: environmental (Gaussian white) noise and state-dependent demographic noise. The dynamical mechanism responsible for both phenomena is a transition from one stable steady state to another driven by stochastic forcing, mediated by an unstable steady state. Exploiting a generic and effective two-dimensional reduced model for real-world mutualistic networks, we find that the average transient lifetime scales algebraically with the noise amplitude, for both environmental and demographic noise. We develop a physical understanding of the scaling laws through an analysis of the mean first passage time from one steady state to another. The phenomena of noise-induced collapse and recovery and the associated scaling laws have implications for managing high-dimensional ecological systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20200645
Pages (from-to)20200645
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Volume17
Issue number171
Early online date14 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • transients
  • stochasticity
  • tipping point
  • mutualistic networks
  • species collapse
  • species recovery
  • scaling laws
  • nonlinear dynamics
  • complex networks
  • COEVOLUTION
  • REGIME SHIFTS
  • EARLY-WARNING SIGNALS
  • ENVIRONMENTAL STOCHASTICITY
  • CRITICAL SLOWING-DOWN
  • MULTISTABILITY
  • CHAOS
  • POPULATION EXTINCTION
  • DYNAMICS
  • SYSTEMS

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