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Earlier maturation leads to increased ecological resilience of population
  • Fan Zhang
Fan Zhang
Shanghai Ocean University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Understanding the effects of changing demographic characteristics on population resilience is one of the fundamental questions in ecology. Earlier maturation is a widely observed phenomenon among populations, especially in fish populations under exploitation. However, the effects of earlier maturation on ecological resilience of population have not been explicitly studied. A classical age structured population dynamics model (configured by empirical data of a population of American plaice Hippoglossoides platessoides) is used to demonstrate that earlier maturation increases both engineering and ecological resilience. Accordingly, changing to earlier maturation could prevent upcoming population regime shift, and management interventions to reduce disturbance after detecting earlier maturation helps to revert population collapse. This study demonstrates the potential of earlier maturation to increase ecological resilience and prevent population collapse, as well as acting as an early warning signal for management to revert upcoming population regime shift.