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EcoRe3 2nd workshop: Resilience, disturbance and functional traits

Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Working groups
Meeting Category

PAGES' Resistance, Recovery and Resilience in Long-term Ecological Systems (EcoRe3) working group will hold its second workshop, titled "Resilience, disturbance and functional traits" in Salt Lake City, USA, from 8-9 May 2018.


University of Utah

201 Presidents Cir

Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA


EcoRe3 is developing methods to measure resistance, recovery and resilience to ecological disturbances in the paleo-record, and to understand the biotic and abiotic controls that result in ecological resilience across biomes. One key biotic component which can mediate the response to disturbance, and therefore determine a system’s resilience, is functional traits. Traits linked to systems that result in fast recovery rates are likely to be different to those responsible for high resistance, but whether general patterns can be observed with regards to (i) the types of traits associated with resistance/ recovery; and (ii) the variations in trait space that determine a system's response remains unclear. By focusing on general functional traits, rather than individual species, it is anticipated that greater predictive power will emerge in response to environmental disturbance and environmental change.

This workshop aims to develop methods to interrogate the fossil record of disturbances in from the perspective of functional traits. Using ecological theory related to metabolic scaling, we make predictions about which traits are related to an ecosystem’s resistance and which to its recovery dynamics. Specific climate and fire related disturbance events in the past will then be selected to test these predictions using fossil data.

Trait-based insights into ecological resilience emerged as an important theme for the working group and a project was initiated based on the discussions during the first EcoRe3 workshop. This workshop is critical for developing thorough ecological theory and statistical approaches related to linking functional traits, resistance, recovery and resilience in the paleoecological record.


At the end of Workshop 1, four projects were defined for the EcoRe3 group to take forward:

Project 1: Review paper, based on a systematic literature review, which synthesizes the current parameters of palaeoecological data and analysis in the context of disturbance, and proposes new methods for more quantitatively interrogating long-term data to explore the components of resilience. (Project Lead: Jesse Morris; proposed paper submission date: 1 January 2018.)

Project 2: Completing the development and publication of new statistical methods for analyzing palaeoecological data to quantify the resistance and recovery rate of ecosystems to disturbance, in line with the concepts of Hodgson et al. (2015). We are expecting to submit this article by the end of the year. (Project Lead: Alistair Seddon; proposed paper submission date: 1 October 2017.)

Project 3: Completing the development and publication of new statistical methods for analyzing remotely-sensed spatial data of key ecosystem parameters over short-term timescales, i.e. up to 30 years, to address key questions on ecosystem resilience and alternative stable states. (Project Lead: Joe Chipperfield and Marc Macias-Fauria; proposed paper submission date: 1 October 2017.)

Project 4: Development of concepts and techniques for analyzing the importance of functional groups and response traits in palaeoecological data, in determining responses to disturbances and by extension, ecosystem resilience. (Project Lead: Vigdis Vandvik; the focus of Workshop 2.)


The workshop will be split into two parts over two days.

Part 1 will consist of a symposium with contributed talks from participants, giving a 20-minute talk in one of two different sessions (see below).

EcoRe3 is planning a special issue based on the overall goals of the working group, and participants are encouraged to contribute papers to these talks which will go on to be submitted to this special issue (expected final submission date, Spring 2019).

We aim that Part 1 of the workshop will be an opportunity for participants to critique and develop ideas for papers that will be contributed to this special issue.

The two symposium sessions are as follows:

1) Measuring resistance, recovery and resilience in long-term ecological datasets

2) Linking functional traits and resilience in palaeoecology

Part 2 will consist of a series of breakout sessions to advance work in previous working group meeting focused on the broad topic of functional traits. Members of the working group will discuss how functional traits can be realistically reconstructed using palaeoecological data, and how functional traits might be expected to differ in systems that have higher resistance or slower recovery rates.

Workshop organisers

Dr Jesse Morris (University of Utah, USA, ECR, EcoRe3 Steering Committee)

Dr Lydia Cole (Rezatec Ltd., Harwell, and University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, ECR, EcoRe3 Steering Committee)

Dr Alistair Seddon (University of Bergen, Norway, EcoRe3 Steering Committee)

Prof. Vigdis Vandvik (University of Bergen, Norway, Functional ecology expert, leader of traits project in EcoRe3)


All participants are asked to apply by 14 February 2018.

Please fill out this form (.docx) and email to Alistair Seddon.

Financial support

Some funding is available to support attendance of early-career researchers. Please indicate if you wish to be considered for this funding.

Further information

Contact (alistair[dot]seddon[at]uib[dot]no) or (jesse[dot]morris3[at]gmail[dot]com) for more information.