- Critical transitions
- Regime shifts
- Network science
- Ecosystem services
- Cross scale interactions
- Cascading effects
Juan Rocha’s research focuses on understanding critical transitions: from regime shifts in ecological systems to collective action in society
He is currently focusing on the idea of cascading effects or teleconnections; how a critical transition in an ecosystem in one part of the world can increase or decrease the likelihood of another ecosystem tipping over in another part of the world. He is developing mathematical models to explore the parameter space at which these transitions could be plausible (at Princeton). He is also looking for empirical signatures of cascading effects on trade networks (at MIT) and rainfall transport dynamics (at Stockholm University).
Rocha is also interested in methods for identifying resilience surrogates, or good observables that can tell you how resilient a system is; as well as misperception of feedback and their consequences (ie. poor governance strategies, conflicts, poverty & rigidity traps or market failures). He finds inspiration from complex systems science and the use of mathematical models, networks and other computational methods to understand social and ecological complexity.
Rocha earned his PhD in Sustainability Science from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, where he wrote a thesis assessing global patterns of regime shifts. Rocha is an ecologist by training and before joining SRC he worked as researcher at the Center for Development Studies at Los Andes University, the Department of Rural Studies at Javeriana University, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Colombia. Rocha is an active member of the Beijer Young Scholars, the Resilience Alliance Young Scholars, the Complex Systems Society, and the South America Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS2).
Rocha is also involved in outreach science initiatives, such as the Regime Shifts Database, where he has been the main contributor of scientific syntheses intended for policy makers and a general audience. He is also interested on developing data explorers that facilitate the communication of scientific knowledge to the non-scientific audience.
Rocha is also an avid climber and runner.
Awards and achievements:
- Formas research grant on cascading effects of regime shifts, 2015
- Early career travel award PlosONE, 2015
- Travel grant by Complex System Society, 2012, 2013
- Travel grant by Swedish Secretariat of Environmental and Earth System Sciences, 2012
- Mention of excellence for BSc thesis – Javeriana University, 2006
News articles with Rocha, Juan-Carlos
Research news | 2023-03-02
Planetary boundaries must include justice, say researchers
Earth system boundaries must not only ensure the stability of the planet but also protect humans and other species from significant harm
Research news | 2022-12-05
For biodiversity to thrive, conservation must be ‘Nature and People Positive’
Scientists argue that stronger outcomes for biodiversity can be attained if conservation actions are combined with justice measures to tackle the underlying causes of decline
Research news | 2022-10-31
Making it easier to measure resilience in practice
Resilience assessments should be more grounded in theory to be applicable in practice, according to a new study
Research news | 2022-08-19
The world’s ecosystems are losing their resilience
Global terrestrial and marine ecosystems are struggling to cope with the effects of climate change
Publications by Rocha, Juan-Carlos
Resilience-based steps for adaptive co-management of Arctic small-scale fisheries
Journal / article | 2022
Arctic small-scale fisheries are essential for the livelihoods, cultures, nutrition, economy, and food security of Indigenous communities. Their sustainable management in the rapidly changing Arctic is thus a key priority. Fisheries management in complex systems such as the Arctic would benefit from integrative approaches that explicitly seek to build resilience. Yet, resilience is rarely articulated as an explicit goal of Ar...
Scientific mobilization of keystone actors for biosphere stewardship
Journal / article | 2022
The biosphere crisis requires changes to existing business practices. We ask how corporations can become sustainability leaders, when constrained by multiple barriers to collaboration for biosphere stewardship. We describe how scientists motivated, inspired and engaged with ten of the world’s largest seafood companies, in a collaborative process aimed to enable science-based and systemic transformations (2015–2021). CEOs face...
Data mining and pattern recognition
Book chapter | 2021
This chapter is part of The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems which provides a synthetic guide to the range of methods that can be employed in social-ecological systems (SES) research. The book is primarily targeted at graduate students, lecturers and researchers working on SES, and has been written in a style that is accessible to readers entering the field from a variety of different disci...