Information driven ecohydrologic self-organization

Praveen Kumar, Benjamin L. Ruddell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Variability plays an important role in the self-organized interaction between vegetation and its environment, yet the principles that characterize the role of the variability in these interactions remain elusive. To address this problem, we study the dependence between a number of variables measured at flux towers by quantifying the information flow between the different variables along with the associated time lag. By examining this network of feedback loops for seven ecosystems in different climate regions, we find that: (1) the feedback tends to maximize information production in the entire system, and the latter increases with increasing variability within the whole system; and (2) variables that participate in feedback exhibit moderated variability. Self-organization arises as a tradeoff where the ability of the total system to maximize information production through feedback is limited by moderate variability of the participating variables. This relationship between variability and information production leads to the emergence of ordered organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2085-2096
Number of pages12
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecohydrology
  • Fluxnet
  • Information theory
  • Self-organization
  • Transfer entropy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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