Publication date (electronic): 30 June 2005
Fluctuations and order in ecosystem dynamics
The model by Prigogine and Nicolis suggesting how microscopic fluctuations can instigate major changes in macroscopic configurations stands as a landmark contribution, helping to incite the current explosion of interest in complex systems. This model restricts causal agency solely to simple, generic microscopic fluctuations and is formulated under assumptions that pertain largely to physical systems. In the realm of ecosystem dynamics, however, where the hierarchical order of attributes is sometimes inverted, it appears unlikely that the order-through-fluctuations scenario can provide a sufficient narrative of change. In particular, mutualistic, macroscopic configurations within ecosystems appear to exert active agency upon their microscopic features.
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