BIOSTASES (BIOdiversity, STAbility and sustainability in Spatial Ecological and social-ecological Systems) proposes an ambitious innovative research program that aims to provide new perspectives on the functioning, stability, and sustainability of ecological and coupled social–ecological systems in the face of environmental changes. By doing so, it will contribute to bridging the gaps between theoretical and empirical ecology and between ecology and social sciences, and to developing new approaches in biodiversity conservation, landscape management, and sustainable development.




This project is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No 666971).




The overarching goal of BIOSTASES is to develop a coherent body of new theory on the stability of ecosystems and coupled social–ecological systems and its relationships with biodiversity at multiple spatial scales that can inform empirical ecology, landscape management, and sustainable development.


BIOSTASES is organized around four complementary themes or work packages (WPs):


- WP1. Ecosystem stability and early warning signals for critical transitions: WP1 will establish the theoretical foundations for the whole project. It will revisit the main stability concepts and measures used in ecology so far, clarify their properties and connections, propose an integrative mathematical framework designed to predict temporal variability as an empirically relevant measure of stability, and use this framework to predict the conditions under which changes in temporal variability patterns can serve as early warning signals for critical transitions.


- WP2. Ecosystem stability and diversity–stability relationships at multiple spatial scales: WP2 will develop dynamical metacommunity models to explore a wide range of novel questions related to ecosystem stability and diversity–stability relationships at multiple spatial scales, in particular the effects of non-directional and directional dispersal on ecosystem stability, the emergence of scaling laws, and the effects of various anthropogenic environmental changes on ecosystem stability at multiple spatial scales. Model predictions will be tested against available empirical data from different ecosystems.


- WP3. Stability of ecosystem processes and services in complex meta-ecosystems: WP3 will develop new theory on the stability of complex meta-ecosystems with multiple trophic levels and on the stability and synchrony of multiple ecosystem services in heterogeneous landscapes to provide new perspectives on the stability of food webs and on synergies and trade-offs between multiple ecosystem services across space.


- WP4. Sustainability of coupled social–ecological systems: WP4 will develop novel theory that includes feedbacks of biodiversity and ecosystem services on human wellbeing to study the long-term dynamics of human–nature interactions and the sustainability of coupled social– ecological systems. In particular, it will explore the spatial dynamics of these systems, the role of human behavioral changes in averting their possible collapse, and possible early warning signals for impending collapses.


Principal Investigator

Michel Loreau is the PI on the BIOSTASES project, working with researchers Bart Haegeman, Claire de Mazancourt, Kevin LiautaudMatthieu Barbier, Soonmi Lee and Yuval Zelnik, supported by Dalila Booth as Project Manager.

Several postdocs and PhD students will be recruited during the course of the project.

The project is carried out at the Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling, in the CNRS Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station in Moulis, France.