Interdependence of geomorphic and ecologic resilience properties in a geographic context

J. Anthony Stallins, Dov Corenblit

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Ecology and geomorphology recognize the dynamic aspects of resistance and resilience. However, formal resilience theory in ecology has tended to deemphasize the geomorphic habitat template. Conversely, landscape sensitivity and state-and-transition models in geomorphology downweight mechanisms of biotic adaptation operative in fluctuating, spatially explicit environments. Adding to the interdisciplinary challenge of understanding complex biogeomorphic systems is that environmental heterogeneity and overlapping gradients of disturbance complicate inference of the geographic patterns of resistance and resilience. We develop a conceptual model for comparing the resilience properties among barrier dunes. The model illustrates how adaptive cycles and panarchies, the formal building blocks of resilience recognized in ecology, can be expressed as a set of hierarchically nested geomorphic and ecological metrics. The variance structure of these data is proposed as a means to delineate different kinds and levels of resilience. Specifically, it is the dimensionality of these data and how geomorphic and ecological variables load on the first and succeeding axes that facilitates the delineation of resistance and resilience. The construction of dune topographic state space from observations among different barrier islands is proposed as a way to measure the interdependence of geomorphic and ecological resilience properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-93
Number of pages18
StatePublished - Mar 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Disturbance
  • Dunes
  • Resilience
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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