Abstract A simulation approach to the global stability properties of complex ecosystem models is introduced. A Convergence Coefficient is developed which quantifies the deviation between perturbed and unperturbed system trajectories. The amplitude and duration of the deviation from the undisturbed system trajectory provides a measure of system resilience and persistence. This approach to the global stability properties of complex ecological systems is illustrated with an aquatic ecosystem model. This model exhibits globally stable behavior for the range of perturbations tested.