US Geological Survey


Date of this Version

June 2001


Published by Ecology and Society Vol. 5, No. 1, Art. 15.


Janssen (2001) provides the stimulus for thoughtful comparison and consideration of the ranges of responses exhibited by immune systems and ecological systems in the face of perturbations such as biological invasions. It may indeed be informative to consider the similarities of the responses to invasions exhibited by immune systems and ecological systems. Clearly, both types of systems share a general organizational structure with all other complex hierarchical systems. Their organization provides these systems with resilience. However, when describing the response of ecological-economic systems to invasions, Janssen emphasizes the human-economic response. I would like to expand on his comparison by focusing on how resilience is maintained in complex systems under the threat of invasion.