The Community Ecology of Herbivore Regulation in an Agroecosystem: Lessons from Complex Systems

John Vandermeer, Inge Armbrecht, Aldo De La Mora, Katherine K. Ennis, Gordon Fitch, David J. Gonthier, Zachary Hajian-Forooshani, Hsun Yi Hsieh, Aaron Iverson, Douglas Jackson, Shalene Jha, Estelí Jiménez-Soto, Gustavo Lopez-Bautista, Ashley Larsen, Kevin Li, Heidi Liere, Andrew MacDonald, Linda Marin, Kaitlyn A. Mathis, Ivan MonaganJonathan R. Morris, Theresa Ong, Gabriella L. Pardee, Iris Saraeny Rivera-Salinas, Chatura Vaiyda, Kimberly Williams-Guillen, Senay Yitbarek, Shinsuke Uno, Ash Zemenick, Stacy M. Philpott, Ivette Perfecto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Whether an ecological community is controlled from above or below remains a popular framework that continues generating interesting research questions and takes on especially important meaning in agroecosystems. We describe the regulation from above of three coffee herbivores, a leaf herbivore (the green coffee scale, Coccus viridis), a seed predator (the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei), and a plant pathogen (the coffee rust disease, caused by Hemelia vastatrix) by various natural enemies, emphasizing the remarkable complexity involved. We emphasize the intersection of this classical question of ecology with the burgeoning field of complex systems, including references to chaos, critical transitions, hysteresis, basin or boundary collision, and spatial self-organization, all aimed at the applied question of pest control in the coffee agroecosystem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)974-996
Number of pages23
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • agroecosystems
  • complex systems
  • ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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