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[1904.02610] Diverse communities behave like typical random ecosystems
"With a brief letter to Nature in 1972, Robert May triggered a worldwide research program in theoretical ecology and complex systems that continues to this day. Building on powerful mathematical results about large random matrices, he argued that systems with sufficiently large numbers of interacting components are generically unstable. In the ecological context, May's thesis directly contradicted the longstanding ecological intuition that diversity promotes stability. In economics and finance, May's work helped to consolidate growing concerns about the fragility of an increasingly interconnected global marketplace. In this Letter, we draw on recent theoretical progress in random matrix theory and statistical physics to fundamentally extend and reinterpret May's theorem. We confirm that a wide range of ecological models become unstable at the point predicted by May, even when the models do not strictly follow his assumptions. Surprisingly, increasing the interaction strength or diversity beyond the May threshold results in a reorganization of the ecosystem -- through extinction of a fixed fraction of species -- into a new stable state whose properties are well described by purely random interactions. This self-organized state remains stable for arbitrarily large ecosystem and suggests a new interpretation of May's original conclusions: when interacting complex systems with many components become sufficiently large, they will generically undergo a transition to a "typical" self-organized, stable state."
to:NB  ecology  random_matrices  self-organization  to_read 
yesterday by cshalizi
The Town That Lives with Rattlesnakes | Outside Online
For Brown, every such call was a teaching moment, a chance to remind terrified homeowners how fortunate they were to share their vacation spot with poisonous snakes. And each time, as he prepared to return the snake to the wooded area where it came from, he’d leave Eckhoff with this advice: “You should be appreciating them.”
snakes  animals  ecology 
2 days ago by itrasbiel
Flight Carbon Calculator - Offset your Flight Carbon Footprint - CLevel
Flight Carbon Calculator - Simple to use. Work out the Carbon Footprint of your flight and then balance your flight with indigenous forests and peoples. Living Plan projects for the Biosphere.
co2  carbon  footprint  ecology  certificates 
3 days ago by sistrall
Salamanders as rich prey for carnivorous plants in a nutrient‐poor northern bog ecosystem
"It was previously thought only tropical pitcher plants ate vertebrates. However, in the new paper published in the journal Ecology, biologists at the University of Guelph in Ontario describe finding Sarracenia pitcher plants in Algonquin Provincial Park that devour vertebrates, specifically salamanders."
botany  carnivorous-plants  ecology  Sarracenia  CA  Algonquin  2019 
4 days ago by zzkt
What You Need To Know About How Cormac McCarthy Can Improve Your Writing
The few journalists who’ve met him confirm that McCarthy is a man who seems to prefer talking about anything but himself and his work.

This makes it a bit difficult to take any lessons directly from the (pretty) horse’s mouth, but there are a few tidbits to cling to. The first may be a bit disheartening to our more writing-obsessed readers: have wide-reaching interests and dozens of hobbies. "Of all the subjects I’m interested in," he said during an interview with the New York Times, "writing is way, way down at the bottom of the list." McCarthy didn’t even start reading serious literature until he was twenty-three and in the air force.

The takeaway here seems to be that it’s always good to have something to write about – it’s all well and good loving books and writing, but unless you’re passionate and knowledgeable about other things (McCarthy claims he had "every hobby there was" as a child), your writing might come across as flat, unengaging, or unconvincing.

You’re probably getting the impression that McCarthy isn’t your standard literary writer. He even does away with the traditional writer’s insecurity: "I never had any doubts about my abilities," he says in the same New York Times interview. "I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this." This self-assuredness certainly goes some way to explaining his bold and experimental style.
cormac-mccarthy  writing  where-no-man-dares  ecology 
5 days ago by jaypcross
RT : 1. I keep politics out of my feed, usually, but this week illustrates an interesting problem in
microbial  ecology  from twitter
7 days ago by kevinmarks
How teabags became a secret weapon in the fight against climate change | New Scientist
After much trial and error, Sarneel, now at Umeå University in Sweden, and Keuskamp realised that, by burying two different types of tea for two or three months, they could capture data on both phases at the same time. Woody rooibos tea, also known as redbush, is slow to decompose, so the amount of weight lost gives a measure of the initial decay rate. Meanwhile, rapidly decomposing green tea quickly reaches the slower phase of decay, so can be used to measure its rate. The Tea Bag Index was born.

Since they went public with their method in 2013, teabag ecology has taken off. Last year, the first global comparative study of soil litter decomposition was published by the TeaComposition initiative, a collaboration of researchers from more than 190 institutions.

They looked at early stage decay rates of the two types of teabags in soil at 336 sites within nine different biomes, including boreal forests, equatorial regions, the Mediterranean and Arctic tundra. They found that rooibos tea always decayed much slower than green tea, reassuring them that the Tea Bag Index works in vastly different geographic regions and biomes. As expected, decay of both tea types was faster in warmer, more humid environments. However, for tea at least, moisture levels have more impact on decomposition rates than temperature.

“Being able to make global comparisons is a huge leap forward for soil scientists”
ecology  climate 
8 days ago by cnk
Ars Technica: Creative thinking: Researchers propose solar methanol island using ocean CO₂
Imagine an open ocean, Sun beating down overhead, with 70 islands of solar panels, each 100 meters (328 feet) in diameter, bobbing silently out toward the horizon.

The cluster of islands is churning out electricity and sending it to a hard-hulled ship that acts as an oceanic factory. This factory uses desalinization and electrolysis equipment to extract hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the surrounding ocean water. It then uses these products to create methanol, a liquid fuel that can be added into, or substituted for, transportation fuels. Every so often, a ship comes to offload the methanol and take it to a supply center on land.
energy  ecology 
8 days ago by lehmannro
The Atlantic: We Were Missing Most of the Plastic in the Ocean
Anela Choy studies the things that deep-sea creatures eat, which means that, in effect, she is often studying plastic. Over the years, pieces of debris would show up again and again in the stomachs of certain fish, species that rarely come to the surface to feed. The plastic, she realized, must be going down to them.
8 days ago by lehmannro

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