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Pattern formation at multiple spatial scales drives the resilience of mussel bed ecosystems
Liu, Q.X.; Herman, P.M.J.; Mooij, W.M.; Huisman, J.; Scheffer, M.; Olff, H.; de Koppel, J. (2014). Pattern formation at multiple spatial scales drives the resilience of mussel bed ecosystems. Nature Comm. 5: 5234. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/ncomms6234

Additional info:
In: Nature Communications. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2041-1723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Liu, Q.X., more
  • Herman, P.M.J., more
  • Mooij, W.M., more
  • Huisman, J.
  • Scheffer, M.
  • Olff, H.
  • de Koppel, J., more

Abstract
    Self-organized complexity at multiple spatial scales is a distinctive characteristic of biological systems. Yet, little is known about how different self-organizing processes operating at different spatial scales interact to determine ecosystem functioning. Here we show that the interplay between self-organizing processes at individual and ecosystem level is a key determinant of the functioning and resilience of mussel beds. In mussel beds, self-organization generates spatial patterns at two characteristic spatial scales: small-scale net-shaped patterns due to behavioural aggregation of individuals, and large-scale banded patterns due to the interplay of between-mussel facilitation and resource depletion. Model analysis reveals that the interaction between these behavioural and ecosystem-level mechanisms increases mussel bed resilience, enables persistence under deteriorating conditions and makes them less prone to catastrophic collapse. Our analysis highlights that interactions between different forms of self-organization at multiple spatial scales may enhance the intrinsic ability of ecosystems to withstand both natural and human-induced disturbances.

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