Supplementary material from "Tipping point and noise-induced transients in ecological networks"



A challenging and outstanding problem in interdisciplinary research is to understand the interplay between transients and stochasticity in high-dimensional dynamical systems. Focusing on the tipping-point dynamics in complex mutualistic networks in ecology constructed from empirical data, we investigate the phenomena of noise-induced collapse and noise-induced recovery. Two types of noise are studied: environmental (Gaussian white) noise and state-dependent demographic noise. The dynamical mechanism responsible for both phenomena is a transition from one stable steady state to another driven by stochastic forcing, mediated by an unstable steady state. Exploiting a generic and effective two-dimensional reduced model for real-world mutualistic networks, we find that the average transient lifetime scales algebraically with the noise amplitude, for both environmental and demographic noise. We develop a physical understanding of the scaling laws through an analysis of the mean first passage time from one steady state to another. The phenomena of noise-induced collapse and recovery and the associated scaling laws have implications to managing high-dimensional ecological systems.
Date made available2020
PublisherThe Royal Society

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