Quantifying resilience of humans and other animals

Marten Scheffer, J. Elizabeth Bolhuis, Denny Borsboom, Timothy G. Buchman, Sanne M.W. Gijzel, Dave Goulson, Jan E. Kammenga, Bas Kemp, Ingrid A. van de Leemput, Simon Asher Levin, Carmel Mary Martin, René J.F. Melis, Egbert H. van Nes, L. Michael Romero, Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


All life requires the capacity to recover from challenges that are as inevitable as they are unpredictable. Understanding this resilience is essential for managing the health of humans and their livestock. It has long been difficult to quantify resilience directly, forcing practitioners to rely on indirect static indicators of health. However, measurements from wearable electronics and other sources now allow us to analyze the dynamics of physiology and behavior with unsurpassed resolution. The resulting flood of data coincides with the emergence of novel analytical tools for estimating resilience from the pattern of microrecoveries observed in natural time series. Such dynamic indicators of resilience may be used to monitor the risk of systemic failure across systems ranging from organs to entire organisms. These tools invite a fundamental rethinking of our approach to the adaptive management of health and resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11883-11890
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 20 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Aging
  • Health
  • Livestock
  • Resilience
  • Tipping points


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