Ecosystems are networks so intricate that their survival or collapse is extremely difficult to predict. However, by mapping the lifespans and studying the resilience of different ecosystems around the world, network scientists at Northeastern University are working to create a common mathematical framework that could anticipate – and help us prevent – the collapse of at-risk ecosystems like commercial fisheries. Potentially, the model could even be used to predict the spread of epidemics and assess the stability of financial networks. The full paper is available at Nature.

Video by Nature

This feature originally appeared in Aeon.

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