Preventing system failure

In the mid-1970s, the way in which ecologists thought about how ecosystems developed or were destroyed was completely turned on its head.

In the immediate post-war period, ecologists regarded systems as more stable, the more interconnected species within them were. Complex systems - where species interacted with one another greatly - were assumed to offer a means to stave off shocks.1 Enter Robert May, a Princeton physicist who had recently turned his hand to the discipline, whose 1974 book, Sta