Regime shifts in spatially extended ecosystems: fairy circles as a case model Conference Paper uri icon


  • Ecosystem regime shifts are regarded as abrupt global transitions from one stable state to an alternative stable state, induced by slow environmental changes or by global disturbances. Spatially extended ecosystems, however, can also respond to local disturbances by forming small domains of the alternative state. Such a response can lead to gradual regime shifts, involving the expansion of alternative-state domains by front propagation and domain coalescence [1]. When one of the states is spatially patterned, a multitude of stable hybrid states can appear [1, 2]. Hybrid states involve stable confined domains of one state in a system otherwise occupied by the other state. Their appearance can be attributed to the pinning of the fronts that separate the two alternative states in a range of the control parameter. This behavior, often referred to as" homoclinic snaking", is …

publication date

  • January 1, 2014