Complexity of Mammal Presence at a Tropical Forest


Abstract. In recent years, the scientific study of complexity in ecological systems has increased to understand of a broad range of phenomena, such as diversity, abundance, and hierarchical structure (**).

Being complex, biological and ecological systems have properties like emergence, self-organization, and life. However, it has been problematic to measure these properties in order to better understand living systems. In thermodynamics, measures such as temperature and pressure give us relevant information about the type of thermodynamical system we face. We lack similar measures for biological systems.

Using recently proposed measures based on information theory (Gershenson & Fernández, 2012; Fernández et al, In Press), we study presence-absence data of mammals in a tropical forest, thus obtaining measures of emergence, self-organization, homeostasis, autopoiesis and complexity.

Results show that species and locations with “homogeneous” distribution of presence-absence data obtained higher values of emergence while species and locations with a more “heterogeneous” distribution data had a higher self-organization. It is confirmed that species and locations having high complexity values reflect a balance between change (emergence) and regularity/order (self-organization).

***Esto no nos dice mucho, hay que interpretar mejor los resultados. ¿Qué quiere decir que una especie aparezca siempre o nunca (high self-org), en comparación con especies que aparecen en la mitad de las trampas (high emergence)? Por otro lado, ¿Qué quiere decir que en una trampa aparezcan muchas o pocas especies? ¿complejidad del lugar?

Currently, homeostasis and autopoiesis metrics are testing in focus to finding the variation in time of the presence-absence and the degree of the independence of the some species over others. From a description of the ecological complexity in terms of information, we hope to clarify the ecological meaning of the notions of emergence, self-organization, complexity, homeostasis and autopoiesis.

Habría que volver a hacer las gráficas con los comentarios que envié. Las figs. 3 y 4, ¿son histogramas?