Fishing from past to present: continuity and resilience of red abalone fisheries on the Channel Islands, California.
ABSTRACT Archaeological data from coastal shell middens provide a window into the structure of ancient marine ecosystems and the nature of human impacts on fisheries that often span millennia. For decades Channel Island archaeologists have studied Middle Holocene shell middens visually dominated by large and often whole shells of the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens). Here we use modern ecological data, historical accounts, commercial red abalone catch records, and zooarchaeological data to examine long-term spatial and temporal variation in the productivity of red abalone fisheries on the Northern Channel Islands, California (USA). Historical patterns of abundance, in which red abalone densities increase from east to west through the islands, extend deep into the Holocene. The correlation of historical and archaeological data argue for long-term spatial continuity in productive red abalone fisheries and a resilience of abalone populations despite dramatic ecological changes and intensive human predation spanning more than 8000 years. Archaeological, historical, and ecological data suggest that California kelp forests and red abalone populations are structured by a complex combination of top-down and bottom-up controls.
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Article: Fishing from past to present: continuity and resilience of red abalone fisheries on the Channel Islands, California.
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ABSTRACT: Human-environmental relationships have long been of interest to a variety of scientists, including ecologists, biologists, anthropologists, and many others. In anthropology, this interest was especially prevalent among cultural ecologists of the 1970s and earlier, who tended to explain culture as the result of techno-environmental constraints. More recently researchers have used historical ecology, an approach that focuses on the long-term dialectical relationship between humans and their environments, as well as long-term prehuman ecological datasets. An important contribution of anthropology to historical ecology is that anthropological datasets dealing with ethnohistory, traditional ecological knowledge, and human skeletal analysis, as well as archeological datasets on faunal and floral remains, artifacts, geochemistry, and stratigraphic analysis, provide a deep time perspective (across decades, centuries, and millennia) on the evolution of ecosystems and the place of people in those larger systems. Historical ecological data also have an applied component that can provide important information on the relative abundances of flora and fauna, changes in biogeography, alternations in food webs, landscape evolution, and much more.Evolutionary Anthropology Issues News and Reviews 11/2013; 22(6):303-311. DOI:10.1002/evan.21379 · 3.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Shellfish are a crucial resource for past and present subsistence-level societies around the world. Despite the diversity of environments in which shellfish are exploited, an examination of the global patterns of shellfish exploitation reveal surprisingly common patterns in the opportunities allowed and constraints imposed by relying on shellfish. These commonalities, linked to the fundamental features of shellfish and their exploitation, can illuminate diverse social and ecological factors likely to influence variability in their archaeological signatures. Here we review contributions to this special issue and explore common trends in shellfish use and its archaeological consequences.The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 07/2014; 9(2):145-149. DOI:10.1080/15564894.2014.881939
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ABSTRACT: This paper argues that European colonialism from AD 1500 to the early 1800s marked a fundamental transformation in human-environment interactions across much of the world. The rapid founding of various colonial enterprises, particularly mission and managerial colonies, unleashed mission agrarian systems, plantations, fur trade outposts, and commercial fishing and whaling ventures into various tropical and temperate ecosystems in the Americas, Oceania, India, Asia, and Africa, which had tremendous repercussions for indigenous faunal and floral populations. These colonial enterprises placed tremendous pressures on long-standing anthropogenic landscapes leading to significant modifications with the invasion of foreign species, the disruption of native habitats, the extermination of keystone species, and in some places, the loss of biodiversity. We conclude with a case study that considers how anthropogenic environments in Alta and Baja California created by native peoples over many centuries became entangled with mission ranching and commercial fur hunting. Our findings support a longer chronology for the Anthropocene than traditionally recognized.12/2013; 4:101-115. DOI:10.1016/j.ancene.2013.09.002