Measuring Components of Resilience in Long-term Ecological Datasets

27.03 - 31.03.2017  
Bergen, Norway
Contact person:
Alistair Seddon, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Workshop report: 
> Access

The first workshop of PAGES' Resistance, Recovery and Resilience in Long-term Ecological Systems (EcoRe3) working group will be held at the Finse Alpine Research Station near Bergen, Norway, from 27-31 March 2017.

The workshop title is "Measuring Components of Resilience in Long-term Ecological Datasets".


Participants, selected via an application process, will be limited to 20.

We will meet in Bergen on the afternoon of Monday 27 March and take the two-hour train to Finse, where the workshop will take place in the Alpine Research Station. The workshop will finish on the Friday morning, and we will return to Bergen by lunchtime.

All travel within Norway (i.e. trains to Finse and back), in addition to food and accommodation at the Finse Research Station, is provided. Some funds are available to support travel of early-career researchers. Please specify if you would like to be considered for this support on the application form (below).


Resilience is a key attribute needed to ensure the persistence of Earth's ecosystems in the face of increasing anthropogenic stressors and climate change. The paleorecord provides a long-term record of ecological responses to disturbance. However, definitions of resilience, and the methods used to measure it, can differ markedly between studies due to the variety of components that can be identified (Hodgson et al. 2015). These disagreements make it difficult to compare and identify systems with more or less resilience and to plan future mitigation strategies, and to understand the underlying biotic and abiotic controls of resilience along ecological and climatological gradients.

EcoRe3 is a new PAGES working group aiming to devise a set of standardised approaches for comparing components of resilience from the paleorecord. In a preliminary workshop in March 2016, we outlined the theoretical basis of two alternative approaches for deriving components of ecological resilience in sediment data. One approach is based on measuring resistance (the amount of change following a disturbance) and recovery rates (the speed to return to equilibrium following a disturbance) (e.g. Hodgson et al. 2015) in individual proxy records. A second combines statistical modeling, present day and past information on vegetation distributions to infer probabilities of biome transitions for a given set of climate conditions.

Workshop aims

EcoRe3 aims to further develop these ideas, and implement the quantitative approaches to put these ideas into practice. Therefore, the first workshop has the following objectives:

1. Explore further the theoretical ideas behind different ways to measure resilience in long-term ecological records.
2. Work to develop quantitative approaches designed to measure and compare resilience to climate and other disturbance in long-term ecological data based on these different theoretical approaches.
3. Use a series of high-resolution multi-proxy records to test the applicability and implementation of these methods in a range of environmental settings.

The workshop represents the first of a series of three workshops planned by EcoRe3 within the next three years.

Confirmed speakers/EcoRe3 Steering Committee members

Dr Alistair Seddon (University of Bergen, Norway)
Dr Lydia Cole (Rezatec Ltd., Harwell, and University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, ECR)
Dr Michael-Shawn Fletcher (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Dr Jesse Morris (University of Utah, USA, ECR)
Prof. Kathy Willis (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London and University of Oxford, Oxford, UK)


All participants wanting to attend need to fill in this application form and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 27 January 2017.

Preference will be given to researchers with a combination of specific study system expertise and data access, analysis skills and theoretical ecological understanding. Preference will be given to early-career researchers and for non-European attendees.

Further information

Sign up to the EcoRe3 mailing list for updates and announcements or contact group leader Alistair Seddon: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.