Skip to main content

Complexity, stability and chaos in marine model ecosystems for present day and global warming conditions


The relationships between complexity, stability and chaos in ecosystem food webs are not clearly understood in the global marine environment. We propose to explore these connections using a global marine ecosystem model in which the level of species diversity is an emergent property. We will map globally indices of: phytoplankton diversity, food web connectance, complexity, stability, chaotic behaviour, and productivity. Complexity is the product of species diversity and food web connectance. Stability is the resilience of the system to to perturbations and can be evaluated as the dominant eigenvalue of the Jacobian matrix at steady-state. Connectance is the percentage of non-zero entries in the Jacobian matrix. Chaos will be evaluated by calculating the Lyapunov exponents for different values of a bifurcation parameter. All the analysis will be performed numerically in a pixel-by-pixel global ocean basis. We will evaluate the relationships of these indices to environmental variables like nutrients, temperature, solar radiation, and turbulence. We will also seek to elucidate the mechanistic basis of the relationships between ecological indices and the environment. The analyses will be performed both for present and global warming conditions. An important objective of the project will be to identify in which ocean regions the ecosystems are potentially more fragile or vulnerable to future global warming. The project will contribute to the objectives of the Work Programme by 1) allowing the fellow to gain new skills and additional training in theoretical ecology and global modelling; and to become an EU leading specialist in a research field with a lot of growth potential; 2) transferring the acquired knowledge to the EU; 3) establish a long-term collaboration between two centres of excellence like the MIT (Boston) and the ICM-CSIC (Barcelona) that will enhance the quality of research of Europe and make it more competitive and attractive for the best researchers

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call


Calle Serrano 117
28006 Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 224 178,87
Administrative Contact
Carlos Manuel Abad Ruiz (Mr.)