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      Archaeological data provide alternative hypotheses on Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) distribution, abundance, and variability

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          Abstract

          Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii), a foundation of coastal social-ecological systems, is in decline throughout much of its range. We assembled data on fish bones from 171 archaeological sites from Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington to provide proxy measures of past herring distribution and abundance. The dataset represents 435,777 fish bones, dating throughout the Holocene, but primarily to the last 2,500 y. Herring is the single-most ubiquitous fish taxon (99% ubiquity) and among the two most abundant taxa in 80% of individual assemblages. Herring bones are archaeologically abundant in all regions, but are superabundant in the northern Salish Sea and southwestern Vancouver Island areas. Analyses of temporal variability in 50 well-sampled sites reveals that herring exhibits consistently high abundance (>20% of fish bones) and consistently low variance (<10%) within the majority of sites (88% and 96%, respectively). We pose three alternative hypotheses to account for the disjunction between modern and archaeological herring populations. We reject the first hypothesis that the archaeological data overestimate past abundance and underestimate past variability. We are unable to distinguish between the second two hypotheses, which both assert that the archaeological data reflect a higher mean abundance of herring in the past, but differ in whether variability was similar to or less than that observed recently. In either case, sufficient herring was consistently available to meet the needs of harvesters, even if variability is damped in the archaeological record. These results provide baseline information prior to herring depletion and can inform modern management.

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          IntCal09 and Marine09 Radiocarbon Age Calibration Curves, 0–50,000 Years cal BP

          The IntCal04 and Marine04 radiocarbon calibration curves have been updated from 12 cal kBP (cal kBP is here defined as thousands of calibrated years before AD 1950), and extended to 50 cal kBP, utilizing newly available data sets that meet the IntCal Working Group criteria for pristine corals and other carbonates and for quantification of uncertainty in both the14C and calendar timescales as established in 2002. No change was made to the curves from 0–12 cal kBP. The curves were constructed using a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) implementation of the random walk model used for IntCal04 and Marine04. The new curves were ratified at the 20th International Radiocarbon Conference in June 2009 and are available in the Supplemental Material atwww.radiocarbon.org.
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            Anecdotes and the shifting baseline syndrome of fisheries

             Daniel Pauly (1995)
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              Fishing elevates variability in the abundance of exploited species.

              The separation of the effects of environmental variability from the impacts of fishing has been elusive, but is essential for sound fisheries management. We distinguish environmental effects from fishing effects by comparing the temporal variability of exploited versus unexploited fish stocks living in the same environments. Using the unique suite of 50-year-long larval fish surveys from the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations we analyse fishing as a treatment effect in a long-term ecological experiment. Here we present evidence from the marine environment that exploited species exhibit higher temporal variability in abundance than unexploited species. This remains true after accounting for life-history effects, abundance, ecological traits and phylogeny. The increased variability of exploited populations is probably caused by fishery-induced truncation of the age structure, which reduces the capacity of populations to buffer environmental events. Therefore, to avoid collapse, fisheries must be managed not only to sustain the total viable biomass but also to prevent the significant truncation of age structure. The double jeopardy of fishing to potentially deplete stock sizes and, more immediately, to amplify the peaks and valleys of population variability, calls for a precautionary management approach.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                March 04 2014
                March 04 2014
                March 04 2014
                February 18 2014
                : 111
                : 9
                : E807-E816
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1316072111
                24550468
                © 2014

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