PerspectiveNETWORK ANALYSIS

Seeing a global web of connected systems

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Science  21 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6421, pp. 1357
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav8478

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Summary

The Arab Spring, the invention of penicillin, and the recent mass bleaching of coral reefs are reminders that much of the change in nature and society happens in just a tiny portion of time. Understanding why and when such critical transitions happen remains notoriously difficult. On page 1379 of this issue, Rocha et al. (1) mine a database of shifts in social and ecological systems and conclude that about half of them may be causally linked on different scales. Their results highlight the importance of unraveling hidden connections in the web of ecological and social systems on which we depend.

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