Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Front. Microbiol. 7:443.


Copyright © 2016 Renslow, Lindemann and Song.

Open access

doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00443


The emergent property of resilience is the ability of a system to return to an original state after a disturbance. Resilience may be used as an early warning system for significant or irreversible community transition; that is, a community with diminishing or low resilience may be close to catastrophic shift in function or an irreversible collapse. Typically, resilience is quantified using recovery time, which may be difficult or impossible to directly measure in microbial systems. A recent study in the literature showed that under certain conditions, a set of spatial-based metrics termed recovery length, can be correlated to recovery time, and thus may be a reasonable alternative measure of resilience. However, this spatial metric of resilience is limited to use for step-change perturbations. Building upon the concept of recovery length, we propose a more general form of the spatial metric of resilience that can be applied to any shape of perturbation profiles (for example, either sharp or smooth gradients). We termed this new spatial measure “perturbation-adjusted spatial metric of resilience” (PASMORE). We demonstrate the applicability of the proposed metric using a mathematical model of a microbial mat.