Juan C. Rocha


Stockholm University

Juan C. Rocha is a research scientist at the Stockholm Resilience Centre where he co-leads the theme on complex systems. His research questions are oriented to understanding critical transitions: from regime shifts in ecological systems, to collective action in society. Currently he focus on the idea of cascading effects: how a critical transition in an ecosystem in the world can impact the likelihood of other ecosystems tipping over. Juan is interested in methods for identifying resilience surrogates –good observables that can tell you how resilient a system is– as well as misperception of feedbacks and their consequences. He finds inspiration in complex systems science, the use of mathematical models, networks and other computational methods to understand social and ecological complexity.

Since 2023 Juan is member of the Swedish Young Academy of Sciences, and guest researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute in Colombia. He is member of the Beijer Young Scholars, the Resilience Alliance Young Scholars, the Complex Systems Society, the Earth Resilience and Sustainability Initiative, and the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies. Juan is involved in outreach science initiatives, such as the Regime Shifts Database, where he has been main contributor of scientific synthesis intended for policy makers and the general audience. He is also interested on developing data explorers that facilitate the communication of scientific knowledge to the non-scientific audience. Juan is an avid climber and runner.


  • Complex systems
  • Critical transitions
  • Networks
  • Resilience
  • Sustainable development


  • PhD in Sustainability Science, 2015

    Stockholm University

  • MSc Ecosystems Governance, 2010

    Stockholm University

  • BSc in Ecology, 2006

    Pontificia Universidad Javeriana


Feel free to explore what I’m currently working on and reach out if you have ideas for collaboration


Detecting tipping points

Where on Earth are regime shifts likely to occur?

Water resilience

Understanding and managing Sweden’s exposure to water resilience risks in the Anthropocene


A Mistra program on transdisciplinary research for a nature-positive economy


Are environmental behaviours spreading?

Earth Commission

Safe and just corridor for people and planet

Networks of financial rupture

How the financial sector can be affected by domino effects in the climate and ecosystems


Marine Arctic Resilience, Adaptations and Transformations

Inequality and the biosphere

Studying the interactions of inequality and the biosphere

Behavioural experiments in social-ecological systems with thresholds

How does people behave when dealing with situations pervaded by thresholds? Imagine you’re a fisherman whose livelihoods depend on a …

Cascading effects

Imagine a regime shift occurs. How do you think it effects the likelihood of other systems tipping over?

Hacking Sustainable Diets

What is a sustainable diet?

Regime Shifts in the Anthropocene

What are the main drivers and consequences of regime shifts globally?

Targeting Agricultural Innovations

Mapping social-ecological systems in the Volta Basin

Upscaling the Resilience Assessment: comparing cases in the Arctic

Juan explores qualitative methods (QCA) for upscaling the resilience assessment to large regions operationalising the concept of …


Occasional notes for my future self and interested readers. Older content comes from my PhD blog critical transitions.

Networks Resilience

Recent collaborations with my colleagues at Beijer Institute, Princeton and Posdam Institute have constantly bring me back to the topic …

The regime shifts database

Regime shifts are large, abrupt and persistent changes in the structure and function of ecosystems. Examples include the shift from …

What causes abrupt changes in ecosystems?

Large and abrupt changes in forests, coral reefs and Arctic sea ice are driven by climate change, food production and urbanisation. …

Latest news

The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems has been recently launched under an open access licence. The book collects contributions from 97 different authors, situated at SES research hubs in 16 countries around the world. Juan contributed 3 chapters on statistical methods, data mining, and dynamical systems. You can download the book in full or individual chapters below:


Recent Publications

Most of my publications are open access. If a PDF link is not provided here please email me and will share it with you. You can find a complete searchable list under Publications

Climate tipping point interactions and cascades: A review

Climate tipping elements are large-scale subsystems of the Earth that may transgress critical thresholds (tipping points) under ongoing …

Equity and Justice should underpin the discourse on Tipping Points

Radical and quick transformations towards sustainability have winners and losers, with equity and justice embedded to a greater or a …

How can we live within the safe and just Earth system boundaries for blue water?

Safe and just Earth System Boundaries (ESBs) for surface and groundwater (blue water) have been defined for sustainable water …

Sustaining local commons in the face of uncertain ecological thresholds: Evidence from a framed field experiment with Colombian small-scale fishers

Due to climate change abrupt and persistent changes in ecosystems, impacting millions of livelihoods, are likely but hard to predict. …

Archetypes of aquaculture development across 150 countries

Aquaculture is expanding and intensifying globally, with implications for environmental, livelihood, food security and nutrition …


Recent & Upcoming talks

Cascading regime shifts within and across scales

How regime shifts can be interconnected?

Lineas y espirales

Invited talk to Javeriana University about my PhD research (in Spanish)

Resiliencia de sistemas alimentarios

Invited talk to the SARAS event on food system’s resilience