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Hydrobiological Journal
SJR: 0.227 SNIP: 0.901 CiteScore™: 0.5

ISSN Print: 0018-8166
ISSN Online: 1943-5991

Hydrobiological Journal

DOI: 10.1615/HydrobJ.v53.i3.10
pages 3-13

Stability and Steadiness of the Aquatic Ecosystems

A. F. Alimov
Zoological Institute Russian Academy of Sciences St.-Petersburg, Russia


As stability of a community or ecosystem it is suggested to consider deviations of their parameters from the certain average level, character of each system as historically developed under the certain conditions. As a measure of the system's stability we suggest the variability of biomass dynamics (ratio of seasonal, annual or long-term minimum of biomass to correspondent maximum). Under specific environmental conditions with certain seasonal variability, determined by the geographical position, ecosystems of certain structure are developed. Seasonal or annual average values of the structural and functional characteristics of these systems remain unchanged for a long time. This demonstrates the stability of ecosystems under specific conditions. Under the impact of certain environmental factors particular ecosystem can remain stable as long as the factors are within the limits to which it is historically adapted. Over changes of the external factors' quality or when degree of their effect exceeds the adaptive capacity of the organisms, for example at pollution or other anthropogenic loads, to which the system is not adapted, its structure and functioning will change and the system will turn to different state with new values of the structural and functional characteristics. It will remain stable as long as these factors affect it. Regarding the effects of anthropogenic factor we introduce the idea of the system's steadiness, under which we consider the ability of a system to sustain changes of the external environment. There is no reason to speak about the stable and unstable ecosystems. The ecosystem is in stable state until it is affected by specific environmental factors of constant degree. It is characterized by structural and functional characteristics, steadiness.

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