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Tom Andersen, Jacob Carstensen, Emilio Hernández-García and Carlos Duarte (2009)

Ecological thresholds and regime shifts: approaches to identification

Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24(1):49-57.

There is an apparent gap between the prominence of present theoretical frameworks involving ecological thresholds and regime shifts, and the paucity of efforts to conduct simple tests and quantitative inferences on the actual appearance of such phenomena in ecological data. A wide range of statistical methods and analytical techniques are now available that render these questions tractable, some of them even dating back half a century. Yet, their application has been sparse and confined within a narrow subset of cases of ecological regime shifts. Our objective is to raise awareness on the range of techniques available, and to their principles and limitations, to promote a more operational approach to the identification of ecological thresholds and regime shifts.

Regime shifts, Ecological thresholds, Ecological indicator


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