Professor Sean Connell and PhD student Giulia Ghedini from the University of Adelaide recently had a paper published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, entitled “Resisting regime-shifts: the stabilising effect of compensatory processes“. This new paper develops a new theory on ecosystem stability.
Most researchers study that ecosystems focus on change and the drivers of that change. This interest in change is a natural disposition for most biologists. However, this focus often means that more is known about ecosystem collapse, recovery and need for restoration, but less about maintaining ecosystems in their desired state by bolstering processes that resist change.
To understand ecosystem stability, the researchers proposed the idea that disturbance need not cause outward ecological change before it is defined as a ‘disturbance’. Professor Connell and Giulia Ghedini came to this realisation by discovering that ecosystems have powerful forces that absorb the effect of disturbances in an immediate and proportional way to the effect of disturbance; an equal and opposite reaction.