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What makes ecosystems robust may include highly various aspects of ecosystems, such as diversity and adaptive potentials at the levels of genes, species, populations, and communities, the network structures of biotic and abiotic interactions, and the types and linkages of component habitats, among many others. We would like to provide a comprehensive identification of these aspects of ecosystems that make ecosystems robust, and hopefully integrate them into a conceptual framework to be able to guide future ecosystem management under changing environments.

The ability of ecosystems to persist against changing environment is essential for the maintenance of critical functions and services that they provide. In other words, ecosystems must be robust by resisting or allowing changes caused by environmental perturbations. Robustness can emerge at multiple scales/levels in space, time and organization. A species may be robust over a long term, if it evolves and adapts to new environmental conditions or it migrates to suitable habitats. A local community may be robust over shorter timescales, if extinction of some species is compensated by surviving species with redundant function. Modularity of species interactions may be important for food-web robustness, by mitigating inflation of indirect effects. Spatial linkages of different ecosystems, for example, those provided by some key species using both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems over their entire life cycles, may be crucial for the robustness of these ecosystems at a landscape level.

To organize these different aspects of mechanisms by which ecosystems maintain their robustness, we set up four themes:

  • Evolutionary and physiological responses to environmental changes
  • Diversity and robustness
  • Network structure and robustness
  • Spatial structure and robustness

Throughout this forum, we will aim to derive a set of general implications for robust maintenance of ecosystem functions and services.

Conference Venue

Sendai International Center

Organizing comittee

  • Masakado Kawata (Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Jotaro Urabe (Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Tohru Nakashizuka (Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Takehiro Sasaki (Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Hiroko Kurokawa (Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Hiroshi Tomimatsu (Tohoku University, Japan)


For inquireries, please contanct organizing comittee by the following e-mail address.