Detecting reactivity. Academic Article uri icon


  • By definition, ecological systems at a stable equilibrium eventually return to the equilibrium point following a small perturbation. In the short term, however, perturbations can grow. Equilibria that exhibit transient growth following perturbation are said to be reactive. In this report, we present a statistical method for detecting reactivity from multivariate time series. The test is simple and computationally tractable, and it can be applied to short time series. Its main limitation is that it is based on a model of population dynamics that is linear on a logarithmic scale. Our results suggest that the test is robust when the dynamics are nonlinear on the log scale but that it may incorrectly classify an equilibrium as reactive when the reactivity is close to zero.

publication date

  • October 2009