David Seekell, Category Winner 2016 – Ecology and Environment

David Seekell


David Seekell is an environmental scientist based in Sweden. His research focuses on developing early warning indicators of ecosystem tipping points. He also conducts research on global scale patterns in lake ecology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Ecology in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University. In 2015 he became a Wallenberg Academy Fellow and in 2016  he received a Science for Solutions Award from the American Geophysical Union


Ecosystem Regime Shifts: Early Warning Indicators and Non-Linear Dynamics

Ecosystems sometimes pass tipping points where key feedback processes break down, causing massive changes in ecosystem function. Tipping points often have severe consequences for human well being including the formation of harmful algae blooms, desertification, and fisheries collapses. David Seekell developed statistics that provide early warning of tipping points and has tested these statistics by manipulating a lake food web to create an experimental tipping point. The early warning methods are broadly applicable to complex systems, and have also been successfully applied in economic and medical studies.