âªâª POWER: It was a flashbulb moment. It is from here that he will mull over the concept of keystone species. Then lo and behold, the vegetation began to respond and change in very, very dramatic ways. The starfish alone hold everything together. And that was sort of the beginning of the rest of my life. Most think that phenomena such as political instability should be understood by constructing detailed narratives of what actually happened â always looking for patterns and regularities, but never forgetting that each outbreak emerged from a particular time and place. Cliodynamics is viewed with deep scepticism by most academic historians, who tend to see history as a complex stew of chance, individual foibles and one-of-a-kind situations that no broad-brush 'science of history' will ever capture. Just as an epidemic can be averted by an effective vaccine, violence can be prevented if society is prepared to learn from history â if the US government creates more jobs for graduates, say, or acts decisively to reduce inequality. âªâª An underwater hunter would help Mary see something neither Jim nor Bob had. [ Thunder crashing ] But his world view changes the day he encounters Bob Paine, who is visiting Alaska to meet with a student. It just immediately occurred to me that this was a phenomenally interesting natural experiment. Only once such fusion has occurred do people become willing to fight and die for the group, he says. That’s why in 2018, after months of complex planning, they attempt to reintroduce wild dogs. This has now been corrected. Grazers eat the plants, and they in turn are hunted by predators. Turchin likens this cycle to a forest fire that ignites and burns out, until a sufficient amount of underbrush accumulates and the cycle recommences. The human relationship with nature. âªâª Like the Serengeti, it’s home to an incredibly rich mixture of animals. âªâª ESTES: I sat there all night long. âªâª BOULEY: It’s like a wave of teeth… âªâª …that just flush out animals, on termite mounds, through grasslands, through forests, and they chase until they tire down their prey and strike. âªâª âªâª NARRATOR: Little doe Tony realize, at that time, the Serengeti is the midst of a dramatic change. SINCLAIR: We found the rules — how systems work, how the world works. They study it carefully, they find out why the plane crashed, and that's why so many fewer planes crash today than used to.â, None of these arguments, however, has done much to soften scepticism among historians in general. PAINE: There it was spread out in front of me. It starts with a relatively egalitarian society, in which supply and demand for labour roughly balance out. âªâª But was this a blessing or curse? âªâª Here, largemouth bass are the top predator. Turchin, P. J. But the otters have not yet reached the shores of the most remote islands. SINCLAIR: I can see now how to translate this everywhere, on just about every ecosystem in the world. Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, a computer social scientist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, welcomes cliodynamics as a natural complement to his own field: doing simulations using 'agent-based' computer models. We can see why these relations should hold by plugging in the above values into the Pythagorean theorem a 2 + b 2 = c 2.. a 2 + (aâ3) 2 = (2a) 2. a 2 + 3a 2 = 4a 2 BOULEY: The plane lands, and, of course, I feel a huge sense of relief. TERBORGH: What humans have done is take nature apart layer after later. The deer have reached plague abundance. 119, 441–456 (2012). âªâª Power suspects bass might be a keystone holding the community together in the lush, green pools. Tony joins animal counts that reveal wildebeest and buffalo numbers are rising rapidly. NARRATOR: Once the war was over, security was re-established. âªâª We transported them now to their new enclosure, where they’ll spend the next couple of months just situating, getting used to each other, getting used to their new home. âThat's why we are where we are.â. âªâª A tree can only withstand that so many times, and then it dies. âªâª [ Eagle chirping ] Could they play a more important role than simply eating a little meat at the summit of a food pyramid? Superimposed on that secular trend, the researchers observe a shorter cycle that spans 50 years â roughly two generations. I was thinking first and foremost about surviving, you know, making a living, being able to make my way in the world. The graph in this article accidentally swapped round the labels for âPoliticalâ and âRacially motivatedâ. Scientists believe that through the use of the intellect, and with the aid of instruments that extend the senses, people can discover patterns in all of nature. He wants to see how things work by manipulating nature. âªâª âªâª In other experiments, Paine removes different species from the tide pools. Records can be preserved or destroyed by chance: in 1922, for example, fighting in the Four Courts area of Dublin during the Irish Civil War led to a fire that destroyed the country's entire medieval archive. [ Wildebeest grunting ] I realized that wildebeest was a keystone. [ Thunder crashing ] âªâª For 15 years, civil war ravaged Mozambique and destroyed Gorongosa. SYNC: Our next speaker is a Mr. Tony Sinclair from Tanzania. Choosing appropriate proxies can be a challenge, because relevant data are often hard to find. BOULEY: By the time I started my career in ecology at UC Santa Cruz, Jim Estes was teaching in our department and that very year was just completing his pioneering work on sea otters. [ Indistinct arguing ] NARRATOR: But Tony believes the cattle disease had artificially kept the wildebeest numbers low. âªâª NARRATOR: Like any forest, kelp is a rich source of food, home to dozens of species. In their analysis of long-term social trends, advocates of cliodynamics focus on four main variables: population numbers, social structure, state strength and political instability. Turchin has also applied this approach to other historical puzzles, such as how religions grow. âAfter a century of grand theory, from Marxism and social Darwinism to structuralism and postmodernism, most historians have abandoned the belief in general laws,â said Robert Darnton, a cultural historian at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a column written in 1999. âªâª âªâª âªâª NARRATOR: Following her passion, Mary Power focuses her studies on fish in the rivers and streams of Oklahoma. Humanity ultimately is the driver of everything. If we were wrong, we could be destroying one of the iconic places on earth. For a large mammal, they just don’t do that sort of thing. I used the line in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’, ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’. But Turchin and his allies contend that the time is ripe to revisit general laws, thanks to tools such as nonlinear mathematics, simulations that can model the interactions of thousands or millions of individuals at once, and informatics technologies for gathering and analysing huge databases of historical information. He offers the analogy of aviation: âYou certainly can't predict when a plane is going to crash, but engineers recover the black box. Kelp to the coastal ecosystem is like redwoods to a redwood forest or oaks to an oak forest. âªâª The mussels are all that remain. BOULEY: And it’s the culmination of months of intense work by teams across international borders, so it’s not a trivial operation. But getting them to Gorongosa is not simple. Skip to Article. NARRATOR: This is a story of hope that will change the way you see nature. After the US Civil War, for example, a wave of urban violence fuelled by ethnic and class resentment swept across the country, peaking in about 1870. Turchin can't say who those groups might be, what cause they will be fighting for or what form the violence will take. NARRATOR: But park managers fear these increases can’t be sustained. âªâª Without blubber for insulation, they have evolved the densest fur of any mammal. Elites have been known to give power back to the majority, he says, but only under duress, to help restore order after a period of turmoil. âªâª This is Gorongosa National Park. If John can show keystones holding together communities here, it will suggest that their power is global. âªâª NARRATOR: Unchecked by the otters, the sea urchins have gorged on the kelp. âªâª SINCLAIR: When I first started, the wildebeest were somewhere around 250,000 animals. âªâª He and his colleagues witness an incredible transformation. But you can look way out there, and there’s no obstruction. Credit: Public Domain. Every day of the week, I can’t stop thinking about it. In choked and barren lakes, the waters clear and life returns. But what happens next amazes even Tony. The symbolic use of nature in human language, in idioms such as âblind as â¦ For example, the appearance of the natural world, with its rich diversity of shapes, colours, and life, is universally appreciated. NARRATOR: With fewer and fewer predators, plant eaters ravenously devour the trees. So, instead of taking warthog and waterbuck, they’re taking impala and bushbuck and these smaller species that have been pretty safe from predation from lions. BetTmann/Corbis (top); Topical Press Agency/Getty (middle); N. BOENZI/NEW YORK TIMES CO./GETTY (bottom). Brian Owens is a freelance science writer and editor based in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. âªâª What were pondweeds above the water were forests of stems under the water. ESTES: If you lose the wrong ones, if you lose the keystones, you’re going to see very big changes. âªâª NARRATOR: Restoring our damaged earth is possible. âªâª People weren’t aware of the remarkable nature of that ecosystem as they are now. âªâª TERBORGH: When I climbed up and walked into the forest, it looked like a hurricane had been through there. âªâª Each of their arms carry eye-like sensors. TERBORGH: Mary Power’s work in streams, Paine’s work in the intertidal, and Jim’s work in the ocean — They did seem to work in a wide range of aquatic environments. There were not enough to keep the large plant eaters in check. MAN: I just want to point — MAN #2: It’s already been proven! [ Birds chirping ] Some of my fondest memories of that period were of catching fireflies in the evening. And the next time we looked, it was 700,000. âªâª Four years later, they had doubled again to 1.4 million. âªâª âªâª Here, Paine conducts one of the simplest experiments in the history of biology. TERBORGH: Science can tell us what’s happening when the naked eye can deceive us. Every summer, they would emerge about sundown and then come up one by one. ESTES: These keystones are really important to the distribution and abundance of species. POWER: I’d try to go out looking to see how the world works. And that expresses the fact that all species don’t have the same impact on the system they’re in. But perhaps revolution is the best, if not the only, remedy for severe social stresses. 20-plus years later, I’m here in Gorongosa National Park, trying to understand how we can restore balance to this ecosystem. No proxy is perfect, the researchers concede. âªâª Now wooded hilltops are small islands. Rev. âªâª âªâª NARRATOR: Downgrading is a disturbing reality, but is it earth’s destiny? NARRATOR: After bonding in a protected enclosure, the dogs are released into the park. partner of AGORA, HINARI, OARE, INASP, CrossRef and COUNTER, Political instability may be a contributor in the coming decade, Cliodynamics: The Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History, Deputy Director of Nanoscopy Center in SLST, ShanghaiTech, Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs in School of Life Science and Technology (SLST), ShanghaiTech University. That meant finding fragments of forests without any predators but with everything else still there. Then, drawing on all the sources they can find â historical databases, newspaper archives, ethnographic studies â Turchin and his colleagues plot these proxies over time and look for trends, hoping to identify historical patterns and markers of future events. âªâª But can anything be done when a community is not just downgraded, but almost totally destroyed? âWe're just too ignorantâ to identify meaningful cycles, he adds. âªâª What he’s observing is a natural reset. TERBORGH: I had never seen anything like this before. They’re re-establishing the landscape of fear. âªâª âªâª Sea otters are masters of their underwater realm, the kelp forest. One is that they grow in a linear fashion as nonbelievers spontaneously 'see the light'. NARRATOR: Tony determines the growing numbers are the result of a rebound. ... Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. SINCLAIR: I’ve always said that science is detective work. Several models have been proposed. NARRATOR: These findings were revolutionary, a new insight into nature. âªâª Tree populations that probably hadn’t occurred since the 1800s. âªâª Despite appearances, starfish are skilled hunters. But Goldstone cautions that cliodynamics is useful only for looking at broad trends. âªâª ESTES: The most dramatic moment of learning in my life happened in less than a second. âªâª TERBORGH: Everything that should’ve been there was there except for the top predators. That’s the difference. So Bob christens them a ‘keystone species.’. âªâª But there is something more in the green pools. PAINE: I knew that I had discovered something important. A small band of scientists has shown us how. The researchers have already seen labour specialization and vulnerability to drought emerge spontaneously, and they hope eventually to be able to predict flows of refugees and identify potential conflict hotspots. âªâª âªâª NARRATOR: In just five weeks, on the side without bass, the minnows have reduced the green pool to rubble. âªâª Mary realizes the predators instill a ‘fear factor.’. Please read this 2020 Rules Replay Rationale which will affect the 2021 Rules for Div. For the best commenting experience, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. In this article Iâll be exploring why sci-fi is so influential, and identifying the 3 golden rules that lead to a great sci-fi â¦ âªâª But after two more counts, numbers remain steady at 1.4 million. NARRATOR: Their quest pursued over a lifetime was to understand how nature is put together. [ Radio tuning ] Bob Paine is a newly-minted biology professor at the University of Washington. ESTES: There wasn’t anyone that argued, ‘I don’t see this in nature,’ not a single one of them. NARRATOR: Jim Estes takes Bob Paine’s keystone discovery to a new level. NARRATOR: 50 years ago, a group of scientists set off around the world to unlock the mysteries of nature. You can’t just get rid of all the bears or eagles from a forest to see what happens. âªâª SINCLAIR: At that point, we knew that the system had leveled out of its own accord, and there was no damage to the environment. For example, it seems that indicators of corruption increase and political cooperation unravels when a period of instability or violence is imminent. All Rights Reserved. Together, they describe the bumpy transition of the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire in the first century BC. TERBORGH: If this forest were whole and natural and reproducing normally, you wouldn’t see me from the camera. For the past 15 years, Turchin has been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predatorâprey cycles in forest ecosystems, and applying them to human history. Previous bouts of turbulence were not dominated by any one issue, he says. âªâª NARRATOR: In Yellowstone National Park, the starfish equivalent is the wolf. NARRATOR: Introducing wild dogs is a big undertaking, but it’s paying off. Humans are hyper keystones in the sense that they are all controlling. To test her hunch, she designs her own version of Bob Paine’s starfish experiment. For example, Johan Schot, a historian of science and technology policy at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and co-author of Writing the Rules â¦ âªâª I’ve never in my life felt such enthusiasm and excitement as I felt at that moment. Science also assumes that the universe is, as its name implies, a vast single system in which the basic rules are everywhere the same. It turns out the wildebeest had been decimated by a virus spread from cattle. I think we’re finally arriving at a much better place, but it has taken that long. If I go to a place where they don’t occur, I ought to see it. âªâª They’re already fulfilling a unique niche in the ecology of predators here in this park. By 2008, the small bands of scientists has grown its ranks. The dogs force the plant eaters to stay vigilant and keep moving. âªâª You can imagine how beautiful it would be when you see detail that you’d never known you could see. âªâª NARRATOR: But there is still a major piece of the puzzle missing. Turchin, P. Historical Dynamics (Princeton Univ. But for Bob, they present the opportunity he’s been dreaming of. âªâª What we need to do is put the starfish equivalent back in. âªâª âªâª At the tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, he stumbles upon a small but magical world. âªâª Not see people, just be in the forest. Science Matrices: NCEA on TKI Science: Science Remote Assessment Matrix and Guidance (PDF, 158KB) Teaching and Learning Guide on TKI: All levels: Resources for internally assessed standards; Clarifications: All levels: Exemplars of student work: All levels: Assessment Evidence Gathering Templates: All levels: National Moderator's Report: All levels âªâª POWER: Add some bass, and then add maybe a big pickerel or walleye, and suddenly you might have a five- or six-level food chain. Herbert Gintis, a retired economist who is still actively researching the evolution of social complexity at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, also doubts that cliodynamics can predict specific historical events. âªâª POWER: We split the green pool into two halves. Press, 2003). Our award-winning show features highlights from the week's edition of Nature, interviews with the people behind the science, and in-depth commentary and analysis from journalists around the world. âªâª When Bob was in school, the general idea was that all natural communities are arranged the same way. âªâª Upgrading works on land and in water. But once the virus was eradicated in livestock, the wildebeest started to boom. âªâª There are more mussels, but less of everything else. âªâª One of my former professors at Washington State was a consultant with the Atomic Energy Commission. Concerted efforts are now under way to fill those holes. âªâª From having watched otters for extensive periods of time, I knew they ate a lot of urchins, but it never really occurred to me until I actually saw a system where otters were gone that the effect was massive. âªâª ESTES: It’s critical that we replace species that are central in holding ecosystems together. âªâª After we understood that, we coined the word ‘downgrading’ to describe it. Goldstone has searched for cliodynamic patterns in past revolutions, and predicts that Egypt will face a few more years of struggle between radicals and moderates and 5â10 years of institution-building before it can regain stability. To Peter Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, the appearance of three peaks of political instability at roughly 50-year intervals is not a coincidence. âªâª And even where predators are still missing, like the Scottish Highlands, simply fencing off grazing sheep has a dramatic impact. âªâª Then occasionally, a big, larger predator like a pickerel or a perch or a bass goes by. I was totally naive. [ Wildebeest whinnying ] âªâª We had always assumed that keystones had to be a predator, but we realized that a keystone could actually be herbivores. âªâª The predator maintains the entire community from the top down. âWe can tell you in great detail what the grain prices were in a few towns in southern England in the Middle Ages,â he says. So at that time, I started daydreaming, how could I expand on this? âªâª NARRATOR: Paine’s question turns Estes’ research on its head. Using the same techniques, he has also shown that the model describes the expansion of Christianity in the first century AD, and of Mormonism since the Second World War. The kelp forest is an important foundation for the coastal ecosystem. I stuck my head in the water, and I thought, ‘This is unbelievable.’. [ Animals chirping ] âªâª NARRATOR: John Terborgh will go on to become a forest ecologist, working primarily in the tropical jungles of South America. I think I had some sort of visceral sense that this was a major deal. Highly social, they spend their entire lives in the icy water. Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research, © 2019 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. âªâª [ Ostrich chirps ] âªâª [ Wildebeest grunting ] âªâª There was everything around me — all of these species all mixed up together. The kelp forest and virtually everything that lived here is gone. You can get enormous bang for the buck. But he thinks that the patterns and causal connections that it reveals can teach policy-makers valuable lessons about pitfalls to avoid, and actions that might forestall trouble.
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