1Chapter 0 Phase Shifts, Alternative Stable States, and the Status of Southern California Lagoons
Our overall objective was to summarize current knowledge of the ecological status or present state of primary producer communities in southern California lagoons and the physical and ecological processes producing changes in these states. To accomplish this, we address a number of difficult questions such as what is the natural state, what target state is “desirable” or “healthy,” what is the nature and trajectory of historical change, and can we use this history to predict future changes. The answers to these questions were based on a combination of scientific evidence from field surveys, experiments, and modeling, as well as a good deal of speculation based on this evidence. As scientists, we were uncomfortable with speculation; therefore, in each case, we tried to clearly state the source of our conclusions and our evaluation of their strength.