M. Scheffer's research while affiliated with Wageningen University & Research and other places

Publications (74)

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Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed...
Article
Failure to recover from blood pressure decline in the first minute after active standing up is associated with all-cause mortality in geriatric outpatients. We aimed to study if recovery times upon an orthostatic challenge and blood pressure variability could predict recovery outcomes of hospital admission in geriatric inpatients. In this talk, the...
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Although some ecosystem responses to climate change are gradual, many ecosystems react in highly nonlinear ways. They show little response until a threshold or tipping point is reached where even a small perturbation may trigger collapse into a state from which recovery is difficult (1). Increasing evidence shows that the critical climate level for...
Article
• With the increasing number of patients with chronic diseases - particularly elderly patients - the number of acute episodes related to these diseases will also sharply increase and form a large part of the total disease burden. • It is possible to identify patient groups with increased risk of acute episodes related to a chronic disease, such as...
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Recent global crises reveal an emerging pattern of causation that could increasingly characterize the birth and progress of future global crises. A conceptual framework identifies this pattern’s deep causes, intermediate processes, and ultimate outcomes. The framework shows how multiple stresses can interact within a single social-ecological system...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods There is serious concern over the fluctuations in Nile perch catches in Lake Victoria. However, a recent study suggests that fishing does not drive trends in Nile perch population size-structure; this result has lead to the hypothesis that eutrophication drives observed trends. Indeed, over the past decades, Lake Victo...
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There were two abrupt warming events during the last deglaciation, at the start of the Bølling-Allerød and at the end of the Younger Dryas, but their underlying dynamics are unclear. Some abrupt climate changes may involve gradual forcing past a bifurcation point, in which a prevailing climate state loses its stability and the climate tips into an...
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We explored systematic patterns in predictability of phytoplankton species from 83 lakes over a gradient ranging from subpolar to tropical regions in South America. We estimated the explained variance (proxy of predictability) of the presence and biomass (estimated as biovolume) of species using multiple regressions from commonly measured environme...
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We address whether robust early warning signals can, in principle, be provided before a climate tipping point is reached, focusing on methods that seek to detect critical slowing down as a precursor of bifurcation. As a test bed, six previously analysed datasets are reconsidered, three palaeoclimate records approaching abrupt transitions at the end...
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The last deglaciation was characterised by two abrupt warming events, at the start of the Bølling-Allerød and at the end of the Younger Dryas, but their underlying causes are unclear. Some abrupt climate changes may involve gradual forcing past a bifurcation point, in which a prevailing climate state loses its stability and the climate tips into an...
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Unsustainable fishing simplifies food chains and, as with aquaculture, can result in reliance on a few economically valuable species. This lack of diversity may increase risks of ecological and economic disruptions. Centuries of intense fishing have extirpated most apex predators in the Gulf of Maine (United States and Canada), effectively creating...
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Predicting the risk of critical transitions, such as the collapse of a population, is important in order to direct management efforts. In any system that is close to a critical transition, recovery upon small perturbations becomes slow, a phenomenon known as critical slowing down. It has been suggested that such slowing down may be detected indirec...
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We explored how well the aggregated biovolume of groups of species can be predicted from environmental variables using three different classification approaches: morphology-based functional groups, phylogenetic groups, and functional groups proposed by Reynolds. We assessed the relationships between biovolume of each group and environmental conditi...
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Ecosystems are complex systems which can respond to gradual changes of their conditions by a sudden shift to a contrasting regime or alternative stable state (ASS). Predicting such critical points before they are reached is extremely difficult and providing early warnings is fundamental to design management protocols for ecosystems. Here we study d...
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We show analytically and numerically that the appearance of lumps and gaps in the distribution of n competing species along a niche axis is a robust phenomenon whenever the finiteness of the niche space is taken into account. In this case depending if the niche width of the species $\sigma$ is above or below a threshold $\sigma_c$, which for large...
Article
There is a vast body of knowledge that eutrophication of lakes may cause algal blooms. Among lakes, shallow lakes are peculiar systems in that they typically can be in one of two contrasting (equilibrium) states that are self-stabilizing: a ‘clear’ state with submerged macrophytes or a ‘turbid’ state dominated by phytoplankton. Eutrophication may c...
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Global and regional climate models, such as those used in IPCC assessments, are the best tools available for climate predictions. Such models typically account for large-scale land-atmosphere feedbacks. However, these models omit local vegetation-environment feedbacks that may be crucial for critical transitions in ecosystems at larger scales. In t...
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The aim of this research was to explore the possibility to use inexpensive open-top chambers (OTCs) as passive artificial warming devices in experimental aquatic studies. Our results show that OTCs give a significant temperature increase compared with the control. The measured increase (up to an average of 2.3°C) corresponds with predicted climatic...
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Alternative stable states in shallow lakes have received much attention over the past decades, but less is known about transient dynamics of such lakes in the face of stochastic perturbations such as incidental extremes in water levels driven by climatic variability. Here, we report on the ecosystem dynamics of 70 lakes in the floodplains of the Lo...
Article
Conventional perceptions of the interactions between people and their environment are rapidly transforming. Old paradigms that view humans as separate from nature, natural resources as inexhaustible or endlessly substitutable, and the world as stable, predictable, and in balance are no longer tenable. New conceptual frameworks are rapidly emerging...
Article
De leerstoelgroep Aquatische Ecologie en Waterkwaliteitsbeheer van Wageningen Universiteit gaat de komende vier jaar vernieuwend onderzoek uitvoeren in sloten. Het onderzoek wordt gefinancierd door STOWA en de direct betrokken waterbeheerders. Enerzijds zal het onderzoek zich richten op het verkrijgen van meer inzicht in de fundamentele processen a...
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1. Positive effects of fish on algal biomass have variously been attributed to cascading top-down effects and to nutrient enrichment by fish excretion. 2. Here, we used a combination of field and laboratory approaches to test an additional hypothesis, namely that the physical resuspension of settled algal cells by fish enhances algal biomass and al...
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Marine resource exploitation can deplete stocks faster than regulatory agencies can respond. Institutions with broad authority and a global perspective are needed to create a system with incentives for conservation.
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We studied the effects of different concentrations of decomposing Rhizophora apiculata leaves and their leachates on larvae of the shrimp Penaeus monodon under laboratory conditions. Shrimp mortality was highly dependent on the concentration of oxygen in the water, which in turn was strongly correlated to the amount of decomposing leaves in the sam...
Article
Contemporary ecological landscape planning is often based on the assumption that small isolated habitat patches sustain relatively few species. Here, we suggest that for shallow lakes and ponds, the opposite can be true for some groups of organisms. Fish communities tend to be poor or even absent in small isolated lakes. However, submerged vegetati...
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Overfishing is increasingly threatening the world's marine ecosystems (1, 2). The search for the social causes of this crisis has often focused on inappropriate approaches to governance and lack of incentives for conservation (3, 4). Little attention, however, has been paid to the critical impact of sequential exploitation: the spatially expanding...
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Mangrove swamps are key ecosystems along the Vietnam coast. Although mangrove litter is thought to represent an important input of organic matter and nutrients to the coastal aquatic systems, the factors determining the quality and size of this litter flux have not been studied so far. We monitored leaf, stipule, twig, and reproductive litter month...
Article
The hypothesis that crowding effects through physical and/or chemical interference may be an important factor in lowering the chance of survival and reducing growth of Penaeus monodon post-larvae under high stocking densities was tested. To separate physical interference from chemically-exerted effects, two-stage systems were used in which shrimps...
Article
Summary • In recent years, interest has grown in restoring floodplain function of regulated rivers. Successful rehabilitation of riparian systems requires knowledge of how regulation of river flow affects biodiversity and ecosystem function. The effects of changes in the river's low water-level regime on aquatic ecosystems in floodplains has receiv...
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The characteristic ecology of floodplain lakes is in part due to their relatively strong water-level fluctuations. We analyzed the factors determining water-level fluctuations in 100 floodplain lakes (during non-flooded conditions) in the active floodplains of the Lower Rhine in the Netherlands. Furthermore, we explored the relationship between wat...
Article
Although alternative stable states are commonly found in simple models, it seems reasonable to assume that the response of real ecosystems to environmental change should often be smoothed by spatial heterogeneity and other stabilizing mechanisms. Here, we systematically explore the effect of spatial heterogeneity on regime shifts for three differen...
Article
We performed indoor competition experiments between algae and Lemna gibba L. in order to unravel mechanisms of competition. To separate effects of shading and physical interference from nutrient competition we grew the two groups physically separated while sharing the same water. A multifactorial design was used with five levels of initial nitrogen...
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Ecosystem resistance to a single stressor relies on tolerant species that can compensate for sensitive competitors and maintain ecosystem processes, such as primary production. We hypothesize that resistance to additional stressors depends increasingly on species tolerances being positively correlated (i.e. positive species co-tolerance). Initial e...
Article
SUMMARY 1. We sampled a set of 93 lakes situated in the floodplains of the lower River Rhine in search for morphometric and other factors that explain their variation in clarity. 2. Lakes with a drop in summer water level were less turbid at the time of sampling, mainly because of a lower concentration of inorganic suspended solids (ISS). 3. We als...
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SUMMARY 1. We analysed the vegetation structure of 215 lakes in the flood plain of the river Lower Rhine in relation to environmental variables related to hydrological connectivity, lake morphometry, lake age and land use on adjacent land. 2. The frequency distribution of the cover of submerged macrophytes was not normal, implying that submerged ma...
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Human societies are confronted with a continuous stream of new problems. Many of these problems are caused by a limited sector of society but cause, spillover costs" to society as a whole. Here we show how a combination of mechanisms tends to delay effective regualtion of such situations. Obviously, problems may remain undetected for some time, esp...
Article
Experiments were performed to study theindividual and combined effects of currentvelocity and substratum composition on thewaterlouse Asellus aquaticus (L.). Bothfactors affected growth, mortality, behavior,and food consumption of A. aquaticus.Short-term effects of increasing currentvelocity depended on the type of substratum. Critical currentveloc...
Article
Modelling populations on an individual-by-individual basis has proven to be a fruitful approach. Many complex patterns that are observed on the population level have been shown to arise from simple interactions between individuals. However, a major problem with these models is that the typically large number of individuals needed requires impractic...
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A model of an animal cohort foraging on logistically growing food is analyzed. The problem is captured in three differential equations, one for food density and two for the state of the animal cohort, keeping track of body weight and number of individuals, respectively. When the animals efficiently exploit their food to low densities, the model pro...
Article
The effects of fish stock reduction have been studied in 3 Dutch lakes (Lake Zwemlust, Lake Bleiswijkse Zoom and Lake Noorddiep) and 1 Danish lake (Lake Væng) during 4–5 years. A general response is described. The fish stock reduction led in general to a low fish stock, low chlorophyll-a, high Secchi-disc transparency and high abundance of macrophy...
Article
The feeding-deterrent properties of a suite of common holoplankton (nine species representing five phy- la) collected from oceanic waters near Bermuda were in- vestigated. The common planktivorous fish Abudefduf sax- atilus (sergeant major) was used as a model predator. With the exception of the salp Pegea bicaudata, all plankton had significant ic...

Citations

... Our worldviews are stabilized by the fact that we are part of a network of people that tend to hold similar worldviews (25). This is because "birds of a feather flock together" (26) but also due to the continuous process of mutual "contagion" (27). If I tend to believe what you believe, and you tend to believe what I believe, the resulting feedback loop promotes the resilience of the belief. ...
... El estudio del clima no ha sido la excepción. La obtención de información espacial relacionado con los diversos elementos que integran el sistema climático, a través de herramientas de Percepción Remota (PR) y su análisis realizado mediante el uso de Sistemas de Información geográfica (SIG), ha provisto de mejores resultados, a diversas escalas espaciales y temporales, en la identificación, caracterización, ordenación y expresión cartográfica de los fenómenos naturales (Brovkin, 2002;Rietkerk et al., 2011;Gopar-Merino et al., 2015;Velázquez et al., 2021). ...
... This distinction takes inspiration from the concept of planetary boundaries [23], which proposes nine boundaries that should not be transgressed if we want to keep Earth 'in the desirable Holocene state' [24]. One of these boundaries is climate change defined as atmospheric CO2 concentration and radiative forcing. ...
... These modeling studies show that alternative stable states may co-exist side-by-side provided that the landscape consists of discrete units. Discrete units can clearly be distinguished in certain ecosystems, such as coral reefs connected through larval exchange [14,15] or shallow ponds connected through overflows [16,17]. However, some systems have contrasting states co-existing in apparently continuous and homogeneous landscapes (e.g.Fig. ...
... The ecosystem becomes vulnerable and responds to smaller perturbations after losing resilience [9]. Studies on regime shifts are diverse in methodology, including (i) modeling in conceptual, mathematical, and computational approaches [10,11]; (ii) laboratory simulation experiments [12]; (iii) whole-lake experiments, including biomanipulation [13][14][15]; and (iv) historical reconstruction of sediment cores [16,17]. ...
... Однако никаких четких критериев и рекомендаций для такого рода сопоставлений на сегодняшний день нет. Трудности сопоставлений могут быть связаны с различиями временных масштабов процессов, которые наблюдаются в природных и экспериментальных системах, с нарушением принципов подобия объектов и процессов -геометрического, термодинамического, физико-химического и др., структурнофункциональными различиями рассматриваемых экосистем [Van Nes, Scheffer, 2007]. Поэтому исследования режимных сдвигов и существенных перестроек пространственно-временной структуры экосистем должны проводиться по большей части на природных экосистемах различного типа, а их сравнительный анализ -на экосистемах, которые качественно и количественно близки по особенностям их функционирования. ...
... Finally, it is important to note that the use of a GN to shift intergenerationally harmful behavior toward a 'safe operating space' (or something like it) is almost certainly permissible on the Pro Tanto Model [59]. Indeed, if people today are, collectively, causing an unacceptably high probability of catastrophic harm and GNs are part of the most cost-effective policy package to reduce this probability, then GNs might not only be permissible but a moral obligation. ...
... The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) described mitigation as: "An anthropogenic intervention to suppress the causes or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases "(IPCC 2001; GGW, 2018) [24] . Climate resilience is the capacity of a socio-ecological system to absorb pressures and maintain function in the face of external stresses resulting from climate change (Folke et al., 2010;Moench, 2014;Shamsuddin, 2020) [21,26,30] . It also includes the ability and capacity of an ecosystem to adapt, reorganize, and evolve into more desirable configurations that improve the system's sustainability, leaving it better prepared for future climate impacts (Carpenter et al., 2001;Folke, 2006) [15,20] . ...
... Messiness emerges through the complex interactions and feedback loops of interdependent social and ecological systems. Resilience researchers thus employ the concept of the social-ecological system, which they argue shifts thinking from a humans-and-nature framing to a humans-in-nature framing (Folke et al., 2010). The challenges posed by climate change, species and habitat loss, and the need to live with change in an increasingly turbulent world are the predicaments that inform this work. ...
... In the human health literature, there are already various lines of evidence that slowing down of recovery may signal reduced resilience for a range of subsystems (SI Appendix, Table S2). For instance, subjects with a slow rise in blood pressure following exercise have a five times higher risk of ischemic stroke (81), and persons with a slow rate of recovery of blood pressure upon standing up are more likely to experience syncope (fainting) (82,83). In psychiatry, slowness of mood change (reflected in elevated temporal correlation and variance of emotions) has been found to be indicative of the risk of falling into a clinical depression later (44,84). ...