Project Description

Serguei Saavedra

Mitsui Chair Professor

Research Interests: Structural Ecology


Telephone: 617.715.2597
Research Website:


  • Ph.D. Engineering Science, 2010, Oxford University

Research Interests

Our Research Program: We study the response of ecological communities to environmental variations through the lens of the structural stability of feasible dynamical systems.

What is structural ecology? Conceptually, we define structural ecology as the study of the tolerance of an ecological community to changes in its structure and dynamics as a consequence of environmental variations. Formally, this can be defined as the stability of the feasibility of a dynamical system as a function of changes in its dynamics model.

How we do it? Combining mathematical, network, community ecology, and field data. Following an approach based on structural stability, feasibility, convex geometry, and probability.

Why we do it? To estimate future changes in ecological communities and understand their past.
To quantify the limits at which ecological communities may no longer mitigate the effects of climate change.

Selected Publications

  1. Estimating the effect of the reorganization of interactions on the adaptability of species to changing environments.
    Simone Cenci, Ana Montero-Castaño, Serguei Saavedra. J. of Theoretical Biology in press: doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2017.10.016 (2017).
  2. Why are some plant-pollinator networks more nested than others?
    Chuliang Song, Rudolf P. Rohr, Serguei Saavedra. J. of Animal Ecology 86: 1417-1424 (2017).
  3. Reorganization of interaction networks modulates the persistence of species in late successional stages
    Serguei Saavedra, Simone Cenci, Ek del-Val, Karina Boege, Rudolf P. Rohr. J. of Animal Ecology 86: 1136-1146 (2017).
  4. A structural approach for understanding multispecies coexistence
    Serguei Saavedra, Rudolf P. Rohr, Jordi Bascompte, Oscar Godoy, Nathan J. B. Kraft, Jonathan M. Levine Ecological Monographs 87: 470-486 (2017).
  5. Persist or produce: a community trade-off tuned by species evenness
    Rudolf P. Rohr*, Serguei Saavedra*, Guadalupe Peralta, Carol M. Frost, Louis-Félix Bersier, Jordi Bascompte, Jason M. Tylianakis. The American Naturalist 188: 411-422 (2016).
  6. Nested species interactions promote feasibility over stability during the assembly of a pollinator community
    Serguei Saavedra, Rudolf P. Rohr, Jens M. Olesen, Jordi Bascompte. Ecology and Evolution 6:997-1007 (2016).
  7. Seasonal species interactions minimize the impact of species turnover on the likelihood of community persistence
    Serguei Saavedra, Rudolf P. Rohr, Miguel A. Fortuna, Nuria Selva, Jordi Bascompte. Ecology 97: 865-873 (2016).
  8. How structurally stable are global socioeconomic systems?
    Serguei Saavedra, Rudolf P. Rohr, Luis J. Gilarranz, Jordi Bascompte. J. R. Soc. Interface 11: 20140693 (2014).
  9. On the structural stability of mutualistic systems.
    Rudolf P. Rohr*, Serguei Saavedra*, Jordi Bascompte. Science 345: 1253497 (2014).
  10. Estimating the tolerance of species to the effects of global environmental change.
    Serguei Saavedra, Rudolf P. Rohr, Vasilis Dakos, Jordi Bascompte. Nature Comm. 4: 2350 (2013).