Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Barak Shojaei Arani

Date: 05 February 2019
Time: 13:30 - 15:00
Location: Aula, building 362, Gen. Foulkesweg 1, Wageningen

Dissertation title: 

Inferring ecosystem states and quantifying their resilience: linking theories to ecological data

Group: Wageningen University, Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Promotor: Prof.dr. M. Scheffer
Co-promotors: E.H. van Nes 


The core of my thesis concerns addressing the ecosystem resilience in a data-driven manner. In this direction, I have tried to make a bridge between advanced mathematical models and existing ecological data. I could come up with some quantitative measures of resilience and applied them to some ecological field and experimental data. These measures are more exact compared with the classical measures mentioned by Holling. I show that Holling measures are just two extremes of the measure I introduced and they do not necessarily capture the notion of resilience. Furthermore, I could also address the resilience of low-resolution tropical satellite data across the tropics (South America, Africa, south east Asia and, Australia). Besides, my thesis also sheds more light on the concept of ‘alternative stable states’ which is an important concept in ecology. I argue that advanced ‘system reconstruction’ approaches should be applied first, from where one can better justify weather or not an ecosystem has alternative stable states.