Publication

Behavioral self-organization underlies the resilience of a coastal ecosystem

de Paoli, H., van der Heide, T., van den Berg, A., Silliman, B. R., Herman, P. M. J. & van de Koppel, J., 25-Jul-2017, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114, 30, p. 8035-8040 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Copy link to clipboard

Documents

  • Behavioral self-organization underlies the resilience

    Final publisher's version, 1008 KB, PDF-document

    Request copy

DOI

Self-organized spatial patterns occur in many terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems. Theoretical models and observational studies suggest self-organization, the formation of patterns due to ecological interactions, is critical for enhanced ecosystem resilience. However, experimental tests of this cross-ecosystem theory are lacking. In this study, we experimentally test the hypothesis that self-organized pattern formation improves the persistence of mussel beds (Mytilus edulis) on intertidal flats. In natural beds, mussels generate self-organized patterns at two different spatial scales: regularly spaced clusters of mussels at centimeter scale driven by behavioral aggregation and large-scale, regularly spaced bands at meter scale driven by ecological feedback mechanisms. To test for the relative importance of these two spatial scales of self-organization on mussel bed persistence, we conducted field manipulations in which we factorially constructed small-scale and/or large-scale patterns. Our results revealed that both forms of self-organization enhanced the persistence of the constructed mussel beds in comparison to nonorganized beds. Small-scale, behaviorally driven cluster patterns were found to be crucial for persistence, and thus resistance to wave disturbance, whereas large-scale, self-organized patterns facilitated reformation of small-scale patterns if mussels were dislodged. This study provides experimental evidence that self-organization can be paramount to enhancing ecosystem persistence. We conclude that ecosystems with self-organized spatial patterns are likely to benefit greatly from conservation and restoration actions that use the emergent effects of self-organization to increase ecosystem resistance to disturbance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8035-8040
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 25-Jul-2017

    Keywords

  • self-organization, resilience, multiscale patterns, ecosystems, mussels, MUSSEL BED ECOSYSTEMS, EXPOSED ROCKY SHORE, WADDEN-SEA, VEGETATION PATTERNS, POPULATION-DYNAMICS, ECOLOGICAL-SYSTEMS, SPATIAL-PATTERNS, ARID ECOSYSTEMS, RESTORATION, SCALE

View graph of relations

ID: 65270486