Simon Levin

Simon Levin
Princeton University | PU · Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

About

792
Publications
179,572
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84,051
Citations
Citations since 2016
197 Research Items
35908 Citations
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (792)
Chapter
Forecasting epidemic dynamics has been an active area of research for at least two decades. The importance of the topic is evident: policy makers, citizens, and scientists would all like to get accurate and timely forecasts. In contrast to physical systems, the co-evolution of epidemics, individual and collective behavior, viral dynamics, and publi...
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Anthropogenic emissions of CO2 must soon approach net-zero to stabilize the global mean temperature. Although several international agreements have advocated for coordinated climate actions, their implementation has remained below expectations. One of the main challenges of international cooperation is the different degrees of socio-political accep...
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The increasing frequency of extreme events, exogenous and endogenous, poses challenges for our societies. The current pandemic is a case in point; but "once-in-a-century" weather events are also becoming more common, leading to erosion, wildfire and even volcanic events that change ecosystems and disturbance regimes, threaten the sustainability of...
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Levels of sociality in nature vary widely. Some species are solitary; others live in family groups; some form complex multi-family societies. Increased levels of social interaction can allow for the spread of useful innovations and beneficial information, but can also facilitate the spread of harmful contagions, such as infectious diseases. It is n...
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(read-only version: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/author/5KWZUPEPKC4RUVWP2YCS?target=10.1002/fsh.10695) The Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries are global recommendations to address the subordinate position of inland fisheries in sustainability dialogues. Regional and local perspectives are essential for implementing global initiativ...
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Are the oceans turning into deserts? Rising temperature, increasing surface stratification, and decreasing vertical inputs of nutrients are expected to cause an expansion of warm, nutrient deplete ecosystems. Such an expansion is predicted to negatively affect a trio of key ocean biogeochemical features: phytoplankton biomass, primary productivity,...
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Significance We show that under widely believed complexity theoretic hypotheses, one cannot expect to find provably correct and efficient algorithms for predicting epidemic dynamics on general networks. These results hold even under idealized problem formulations, where all the model parameters are known and are insensitive to changes in environmen...
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Significance How can a pluralistic republic combat dangers of tyrannical factions? In Federalist No. 10 , James Madison proposed that the problem of factions could be mitigated by expanding the political sphere. Over 200 y later, however, polarization plagues the United States, despite the likely greater diversity of issues considered in the realm...
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Significance With different types and manifestations of polarization growing, it is crucial to understand their impact on welfare-promoting processes in society. This understanding is important when polarization interrupts both socially and individually optimal outcomes. We propose a model and framework to study and quantify the relationship betwee...
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Significance Polarization is rising while political debates are moving to online social platforms. In such settings, algorithms are used to recommend new connections to users, through so-called link recommendation algorithms. Users are often recommended based on structural similarity (e.g., nodes sharing many neighbors are similar). We show that pr...
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Vaccination provides a powerful tool for mitigating and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a number of factors reduce these potential benefits. The first problem arises from heterogeneities in vaccine supply and uptake: from global inequities in vaccine distribution, to local variations in uptake derived from vaccine hesitancy. The second...
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Climate change is anticipated to impact smallholder farmer livelihoods substantially. However, empirical evidence is inconclusive regarding how increased climate stress affects smallholder farmers’ deployment of various livelihood strategies, including rural–urban migration. Here we use an agent-based model to show that in a South Asian agricultura...
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Critical transitions, or large changes in the state of a system after a small change in the system's external conditions or parameters, commonly occur in a wide variety of disciplines, from the biological and social sciences to physics. Statistical physics first confronted the problem of emergent phenomena such as critical transitions in the 1800s...
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Consider a cooperation game on a spatial network of habitat patches, where players can relocate between habitats if they judge the local conditions to be unfavorable. In time, the relocation events may lead to a homogeneous state where all patches harbor the same densities of cooperators and defectors or they may lead to self-organized patterns, wh...
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This survey provides a description of common and distinct characteristics of economic and ecological systems; examples of the ways in which these characteristics can be incorporated into models adequately describing the coevolution of the two-component systems to produce a unified ecological-economic system in time, space, and appropriate scale; an...
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The evolution of complex cellular life involved two major transitions: the encapsulation of self-replicating genetic entities into cellular units and the aggregation of individual genes into a collectively replicating genome. In this paper, we formulate a minimal model of the evolution of proto-chromosomes within protocells. We model a simple proto...
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Stockpiling and control A triumph that has emerged from the catastrophe of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic has been the rapid development of several potent vaccines. However, 18 months into the pandemic and more than 6 months after vaccine approval, wealthy countries remain the major beneficiaries. Wagner et al . model...
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A sustainable management of global freshwater resources requires reliable estimates of the water demanded by irrigated agriculture. This has been attempted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through country surveys and censuses, or through Global Models, which compute irrigation water withdrawals with sub-models on crop types and calend...
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We explore the commonalities between methods for assuring the security of computer systems (cybersecurity) and the mechanisms that have evolved through natural selection to protect vertebrates against pathogens, and how insights derived from studying the evolution of natural defenses can inform the design of more effective cybersecurity systems. Mo...
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A central need in the field of astrobiology is generalized perspectives on life that make it possible to differentiate abiotic and biotic chemical systems McKay (2008). A key component of many past and future astrobiological measurements is the elemental ratio of various samples. Classic work on Earth’s oceans has shown that life displays a strikin...
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Major financial legislation is invariably enacted in the wake of a financial crisis. However, legislating following a crisis is hazardous because information is scarce regarding causes of the crisis, let alone what would be an appropriate response. Compounding the lack of information, crisis-driven legislation is sticky, but financial markets are d...
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Significance Characterizing stability and dynamics of ecological systems under fluctuations is a longstanding challenge in ecology. We study the ecodynamics of a forest–savanna model under fluctuations via a landscape-flux theoretical framework from nonequilibrium statistical physics and show that ecological dynamics are determined by both populati...
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Vaccines provide powerful tools to mitigate the enormous public health and economic costs that the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to exert globally, yet vaccine distribution remains unequal between countries. To examine the potential epidemiological and evolutionary impacts of 'vaccine nationalism', we extend previous models to include simpl...
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Pathogens evolve different life-history strategies, which depend in part on differences in their host populations. A central feature of hosts is their population structure (e.g. spatial). Additionally, hosts themselves can exhibit different degrees of symptoms when newly infected; this latency is a key life-history property of pathogens. With an ev...
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Recent attempts at cooperating on climate change mitigation highlight the limited efficacy of large-scale negotiations, when commitment to mitigation is costly and initially rare. Deepening existing voluntary mitigation pledges could require more stringent, legally-binding agreements that currently remain untenable at the global scale. Building-blo...
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Extreme weather events often prevent low-income farmers from accessing high-return technologies that would enhance their productivity. As a result, they often fall into poverty traps, a problem likely to worsen as the frequency of weather disasters increases due to climate change. Insurance offers, in principle, a solution for this conundrum and a...
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Background: COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and made available. While questions of vaccine allocation strategies have received significant attention, important questions remain regarding the potential impact of the vaccine given uncertainties regarding efficacy against transmission, availability, timing, and durability. Methods: We adapted...
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In the absence of drugs and vaccines, policymakers use non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing to decrease rates of disease-causing contact, with the aim of reducing or delaying the epidemic peak. These measures carry social and economic costs, so societies may be unable to maintain them for more than a short period of time. Inte...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an interconnected and tightly coupled globalized world in rapid change. This article sets the scientific stage for understanding and responding to such change for global sustainability and resilient societies. We provide a systemic overview of the current situation where people and nature are dynamically intertwine...
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We present an ecology-inspired form of active matter consisting of a robot swarm. Each robot moves over a planar dynamic resource environment represented by a large light-emitting diode array in search of maximum light intensity; the robots deplete (dim) locally by their presence the local light intensity and seek maximum light intensity. Their mov...
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One dose or two? For two-dose vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, some jurisdictions have decided to delay the second dose to rapidly get the vaccine into more people. The consequences of deviating from manufacturer-prescribed dosing regimens are unknown but will depend on the strength of immune responses to the vaccin...
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Fisheries are coupled human-natural systems locally, regionally, and globally. However, human-nature interactions within and between adjacent and distant systems (metacouplings) are rarely studied in fisheries despite their prevalence and policy relevance. We filled this knowledge gap by using network models to identify how the severe acute respira...
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When individuals face collective action problems, their expectations about others’ willingness to contribute affect their motivation to cooperate. Individuals, however, often misperceive the cooperation levels in a population. In the context of climate action, people underestimate the pro-climate positions of others. Designing incentives to enable...
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As the threat of Covid-19 continues and in the face of vaccine dose shortages and logistical challenges, various deployment strategies are being proposed to increase population immunity levels. How timing of delivery of the second dose affects infection burden but also prospects for the evolution of viral immune escape are critical questions. Both...
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SARS-CoV-2 is an international public health emergency; high transmissibility and morbidity and mortality can result in the virus overwhelming health systems. Combinations of social distancing, and test, trace, and isolate strategies can reduce the number of new infections per infected individual below 1, thus driving declines in case numbers, but...
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The last few decades have seen an enhanced partnership between ecologists and social scientists, especially economists, in addressing the environmental challenges facing societies. Not only do ecology and economics, in particular, need each other; but also the challenges they face are similar and can benefit from cross-fertilization. At the core ar...
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Pathogens have evolved a variety of life-history strategies. An important strategy consists of successful transmission by an infected host before the appearance of symptoms, that is, while the host is still partially or fully asymptomatic. During this initial stage of infection, it is possible for another pathogen to superinfect an already infected...
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The R package "sensobol" provides several functions to conduct variance-based uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, from the estimation of sensitivity indices to the visual representation of the results. It implements several state-of-the-art first and total-order estimators and allows the computation of up to third-order effects, as well as of the...
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https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1cKk4biU1p3jk -- Fisheries contribute to food and nutrition security, livelihoods, and poverty alleviation for billions of people globally. However, human-environmental interactions in fisheries are rarely assessed locally, regionally, and globally at the same time, limiting social-ecological resilience in fisheries...
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Despite vast improvements in global vaccination coverage during the last decade, there is a growing trend in vaccine hesitancy and/or refusal globally. This has implications for the acceptance and coverage of a potential vaccine against COVID-19. In the United States, the number of children exempt from vaccination for “philosophical belief-based” n...
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Increasing climate stress is likely to significantly impact smallholder farmer livelihoods, and can lead to divergent adaptation pathways. However, empirical evidence is inconclusive regarding how climate affects smallholder farmers’ deployment of various livelihood strategies, including rural-urban migration, especially as these impacts become mor...
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Full-text available
Global environmental change challenges humanity because of its broad scale, long-lasting, and potentially irreversible consequences. Key to an effective response is to use an appropriate scientific lens to peer through the mist of uncertainty that threatens timely and appropriate decisions surrounding these complex issues. Identifying such corridor...
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Seasonal influenza viruses create a persistent global disease burden by evolving to escape immunity induced by prior infections and vaccinations. New antigenic variants have a substantial selective advantage at the population level, but these variants are rarely selected within-host, even in previously immune individuals. Using a mathematical model...
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A central need in the field of astrobiology is generalized perspectives on life that make it possible to differentiate abiotic and biotic chemical systems. A key component of many past and future astrobiological measurements is the elemental ratio of various samples. Classic work on Earth's oceans has shown that life displays a striking regularity...
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Full-text available
ContextThe global drylands cover 41% of the terrestrial surface and support millions of pastoralists and host diverse flora and fauna. Ongoing socioeconomic and environmental transformations in drylands make it imperative to understand how to achieve the twin goals of food security and ecosystem health.Objectives The review focuses on examining the...
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Climate change is reshaping the comparative advantage of regions and hence driving migration flows, principally toward urban areas. Migration has multiple benefits and costs in both origin and destination regions. Coordinated policies that recognize how and why people move can reduce future costs and facilitate adaptation to climate change both wit...
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Imperfect future immunity Humans are infected by several seasonal and cross-reacting coronaviruses. None provokes fully protective immunity, and repeat infections are the norm. Vaccines tend to be less efficient than natural infections at provoking immunity, and there are risks of adverse cross-reactions. Saad-Roy et al. used a series of simple mod...
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In the animal kingdom, various forms of swarming enable groups of autonomous individuals to transform uncertain information into unified decisions which are probabilistically beneficial. Crossing scales from individual to group decisions requires dynamically accumulating signals among individuals. In striking parallel, the mammalian immune system i...