Understanding Complex Ecosystem Dynamics: A Systems and Engineering Perspective takes a fresh, interdisciplinary perspective on complex system dynamics, beginning with a discussion of relevant systems and engineering skills and practices, including an explanation of the systems approach and its major elements. From this perspective, the author formulates an ecosystem dynamics functionality-based framework to guide ecological investigations. Next, because complex system theory (across many subject matter areas) is crucial to the work of this book, relevant network theory, nlinear dynamics theory, cellular automata theory, and roughness (fractal) theory is covered in some detail. This material serves as an important resource as the book proceeds. In the context of all of the foregoing discussion and investigation, a view of the characteristics of ecological network dynamics is constructed. This view, in turn, is the basis for the central hypothesis of the book, i.e., ecological networks are ever-changing networks with propagation dynamics that are punctuated, local-to-global, and perhaps most importantly fractal. To analyze and fully test this hypothesis, an invative ecological network dynamics model is defined, designed, and developed. The modeling approach, which seeks to emulate features of real-world ecological networks, does t make a priori assumptions about ecological network dynamics, but rather lets the dynamics develop as the model simulation runs. Model analysis results corroborate the central hypothesis. Additional important insights and principles are suggested by the model analysis results and by the other supporting investigations of this book - and can serve as a basis for going-forward complex system dynamics research, t only for ecological systems but for complex systems in general.
Bill Yackinous has had a distinguished 34-year career as a systems engineer at Bell Laboratories. Throughout his career he worked to solve systems problems for Bell Labs and for its clients - both domestically and internationally. Bill has earned the highest technical honors at Bell Labs. He was named a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in 1986, a Bell Labs Fellow in 1992, and a Consulting Member of Technical Staff in 2000. Bell Labs Fellow is the most prestigious technical honor at Bell Labs - and among the most prestigious across research and development institutions throughout the world. At Bell Labs, Bill acquired a very significant breadth and depth of systems and engineering knowledge. He made important and innovative contributions to systems thinking and engineering system development. Bill's global perspective has taken him around the world - supporting the local Bell Labs teams and their clients. He has served as a systems engineering consultant for both executive-level and working-level groups in Japan, England, Malaysia, France, and Canada. After earning a PhD in Ecology at the University of Georgia's Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology, Bill is now pursuing his goal of beneficially applying the skills, perspectives, methods, and techniques of the systems approach and systems engineering to increase understanding of complex ecological systems.