Clockwise and counterclockwise hysteresis in the S. purpurea micro ecosystem

Amanda Northrop, Vanessa Avalone, Aaron Ellison, Bryan Ballif & Nicholas Gotelli
Incremental increases in a driver variable, such as nutrients or detritus, can trigger abrupt shifts in aquatic ecosystems that may exhibit hysteretic dynamics and a slow return to the initial state. A model system for understanding these dynamics is the microbial assemblage that inhabits the cup-shaped leaves of the pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea. With enrichment of organic matter, this system flips within three days from an oxygen-rich state to an oxygen-poor state. In a replicated...
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