The scientific work of Nyström is captured by four broad research strains:
1) Research that explores the resilience and non-linear dynamics (i.e. thresholds, alternative states) in ecosystems
2) Research that identifies and explores the role of feedback mechanisms that trigger and/or reinforce particular ecological states and social-ecological trajectories
3) Research with the aim to operationalize resilience
4) With human social processes increasingly connecting people and life-support systems in ever more distant geographic locations, the fourth research strain has as an objective to disentangle cross-scale driver interactions in marine social-ecological systems, and among production ecosystems across sectors. This includes exploring how global biophysical (e.g. climate change) and socioeconomic (e.g. trade, financialization, human migration, technology, communication) interconnectivities emerge, interact, and shape the humans-biosphere relationship – and how this builds or erodes resilience at a global scale. In this work he collaborates with colleagues from disciplines including ecology, economics, sociology and development studies.
Nyström has published his work in several highly ranked scientific journals, such as Nature, Science, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Ecology Letters, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, among others.
He has lead several research projects; “Matching ecosystem dynamics and coral reef management by reserve networks” (Sida 2002-2005, PI), “The role of ecological resilience and governance for marine resources management” (Sida 2006-2008, PI), “Functional connectivity across scales in a shallow-water seascape of East Africa: implications for resource management” (Sida 2009-2011, co-PI), "The role of middlemen in small-scale fisheries" (Sida 2013-2016, co-PI), “A global analysis of coral reef regimes: patterns, drivers and functional indicators” (Formas 2015-2017, co-PI).
He has extensive teaching merits and has designed and executed numerous courses at Masters and PhD levels at Stockholm University. He is currently director of PhD studies at the SRC. He has supervised 8 PhD students (4 as main, 4 as co-supervisor) and 25 master students (as main supervisor). Nyström is also a leader for the SRC research stream “Patterns of the Anthropocene.”
He has background training in systems ecology, and marine and coral reef ecology, and holds a PhD in Marine Ecotoxicology from Stockholm University – “Coral reefs in a human-dominated environment – implications of altered disturbance regimes and reduced resilience” (2001).
Nyström also has an extensive collaborative research network, including, for example: Lancaster University (UK), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (Australia), National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS, USA), Scripps Institute (USA), Stanford University (USA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and University of Hawaii (USA), John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (USA), The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences (Australia), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) The Nature Conservancy, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Hawaii (USA), The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences (Australia), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, PhD candidate
Research news | 2019-02-21
Coral reefs face a new reality dominated by human impact and it is time for traditional coral reef ecological paradigms to follow suit
Research news | 2019-02-13
New study uses machine learning and an unprecedented dataset from more than six hundred reefs to analyse coral reef tipping points
Research news | 2016-11-02
How much more fishing, nutrient pollution and climate change can the world’s coral reefs endure?
Research news | 2016-06-23
Songwriter PJ Harvey provides inspiration for paper calling for radically new thinking within marine research
Global seafood trade leave consumers unaware of over-exploited marine ecosystems
Interview with Magnus Nyström on how to unlock feedbacks that keep marine ecosystems in undesired states.
2018 - Journal / article
We are in the Anthropocene—an epoch where humans are the dominant force of planetary change. Ecosystems increasingly reflect rapid human‐induced, socioeconomic and cultural selection rather than being a product of their surrounding natural biophysical setting. This poses the intriguing question: To what extent do existing ecological paradigms capture and explain the current ecological patterns and processes we observe? We arg...
2017 - Book chapter
Ecosystems are shaped by natural processes such as predator–prey interactions and climate, as well as by human activities such as harvesting and pollution. Resilient ecosystems are able to absorb disturbances, but chronic stressors may reduce the capacity of an ecosystem to cope with change (Trends Ecol Evol 15:413–417, 2000). The ability of ecosystems to absorb disturbance and at the same time maintain their structure, proces...
2017 - Journal / article
Marine ecosystem science has developed since the 1940s, when humans obtained the ability to spend substantial time underneath the surface of the ocean. Since then, and drawing on several decades of scientific advances, a number of exciting research frontiers have emerged. We find: Understanding interacting drivers of change, Identifying thresholds in ecosystems, and Investigating social-ecological dynamics to represent particu...
2016 - Journal / article
The decline of coral reefs has been broadly attributed to human stressors being too strong and pervasive, whereas biological processes that may render coral reefs fragile have been sparsely considered. Here we review several ecological factors that can limit the ability of coral reefs to withstand disturbance. These include: (1) Many species lack the adaptive capacity to cope with the unprecedented disturbances they currently ...