Saturday, February 18, 2012: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 213 (VCC West Building)Humans have been an integral part of the North Pacific ecosystem for 12,000 years and have continuously responded to complex natural changes in the regional environment that continue to drive modern-day marine ecosystems. Archaeological legacies reveal much about the ancient marinescapes and can provide insightful proxies to assess recent global changes. The session will show that environmental changes that have occurred since the late 1970s in the abundances of invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals cannot be understood without knowledge from the past. Integrating archaeology, food webs, marine paleoecology, evolutionary biology, and oceanography reveals key events and historical details about the North Pacific that help explain the modern and complex dynamics between commercial fisheries, sea mammals, and society. Humans influence marine ecosystems and can be linked to more prey species and trophic groups than any other predator. However, the important human links that can control marine food chains are conditioned by bottom-up climate–productivity relationships, which are ultimately conditioned by historical climate changes and human sociopolitical dynamics. Speakers will describe the historical ecology and biocomplexity of the North Pacific and show how this knowledge can help resolve much of the controversy about the impact that humans are having on the health and stability of marine ecosystems relative to the effects of natural changes in the marine environment.
Herbert D.G. Maschner, Idaho Museum of Natural History
Andrew Trites, North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium