With regards to avoiding regime shifts Dr Nystrom’s research entails studies of ecological tipping points, and the role of biodiversity buffering disturbance (i.e. the resilience) in coral reefs. To better understand how to reverse already degraded states his research focuses on identifying self-reinforcing (positive) feedback mechanisms that tend to lock reefs in undesirable states; the way human actions influence the strength and direction of these feedbacks, how different feedbacks interact and at what scales they operate. Dr Nystrom’s research also comprises inter-disciplinary studies on how changes in ecological feedbacks interact with socioeconomic processes, potentially generating so called “social-ecological traps”, and how these traps are distributed within society and across scales. Magnus Nystrom received his PhD in 2001 and is currently associated professor at the Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University. He is also chairing one of the research themes at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Marine ecosystem decline is accelerating. At some point degradation may pass a tipping point beyond which ecosystems become trapped in alternative degraded states, as a result of changes in critical feedbacks. Self-reinforcing feedbacks pose a major challenge for managers and policy-makers seeking remedial actions to curb the marine crisis. A better understanding of the way human actions influence the strength and direction of feedbacks, how different feedbacks interact and at what scales they operate, is crucial for successful implementation of marine ecosystem management.