Assistant professor at the department of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
The focus of my research is on tipping point and resilience theory, and the development and application of dynamic resilience indicators in complex systems. Besides theory development, I work along various lines of more applied research. For instance, whether and how resilience theory applies to coral reefs, psychological disorders, public mood, health and ageing.
How to identify and study tipping elements in complex systems?
Tipping point theory is ill-equipped to deal with the complexity of health systems, social-ecological systems, or the Earth climate. This is partly because these systems consist of multiple subsystems, such as organs or species, each with its own (nonlinear) dynamics, and coupling with other subsystems. When subsystems can, under certain circumstances be switched into a qualitatively different state by small perturbations, we may call them “tipping elements”. To get a good understanding of the resilience of a system against disturbances, one needs to know the tipping elements and understand the coupling between them.
During my IAS fellowship, I will use both qualitative and quantitative models to identify and study the dynamics of tipping elements in relation to full-system dynamics, with the ultimate goal to develop a generic approach to study subsystem and systemic resilience of complex systems. For this, I will seek inspiration from studies and experts on health, social-ecological systems, and the Earth climate.