By replacing thousands of equations with just one, ecology modelers can more accurately assess how close fragile environments are to a disastrous “tipping point.” The post Simpler Math Predicts How Close Ecosystems Are to Collapse first appeared on Quanta Magazine 

Fuzzy bumblebees, like tiny orange sheep, flit between the lilies that blanket the understory of an Argentinian forest, fertilizing the flowers and getting nourishment for themselves. In an ancient hay meadow in England, dance flies — looking more like bulky mosquitoes than ballerinas — hunt for blossoms with pollen, ignoring the nectar-rich flowers nearby. On a rocky island in the Seychelles…


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