Incorporating coastal ecosystems in climate adaptation planning is needed to maintain the well-being of both natural and human systems. Our vulnerability study uses a multidisciplinary approach to evaluate climate change vulnerability of an urbanized coastal community that could serve as a model approach for communities worldwide, particularly in similar Mediterranean climates. We synthesize projected changes in climate, coastal erosion and flooding, watershed runoff and impacts to two important coastal ecosystems, sandy beaches and coastal salt marshes. Using downscaled climate models along with other regional models, we find that temperature, extreme heat events, and sea level are expected to increase in the future, along with more intense rainfall events, despite a negligible change in annual rainfall. Consequently, more droughts are expected but the magnitude of larger flood events will increase. Associated with the continuing rise of mean sea level, extreme coastal water levels will occur with increasingly greater magnitudes and frequency. Severe flooding will occur for both natural (wetlands, beaches) and built environments (airport, harbor, freeway, and residential areas). Adaptation actions can reduce the impact of rising sea level, which will cause losses of sandy beach zones and salt marsh habitats that support the highest biodiversity in these ecosystems, including regionally rare and endangered species, with substantial impacts occurring by 2050. Providing for inland transgression of coastal habitats, effective sediment management, reduced beach grooming and removal of shoreline armoring are adaptations that would help maintain coastal ecosystems and the beneficial services they provide.
Goal 14, ‘Life Below Water’, of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals sets a target for nations to increase the number of marine protected areas managed using ecosystem-based management, which requires interventions focused on fish stock conservation and enhancement, environmental sustainability and ecosystem services of benefit to human beings. Although not adhering to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's criteria for marine protected areas, whale sanctuaries are an increasingly common approach to conservation around the world. This paper is the first in the academic literature to use a case study approach to review the extent to which whale sanctuaries contribute to ecosystem-based management. A fifteen-criteria framework for marine ecosystem-based management is applied with reference to six whale sanctuary case studies, including the International Whaling Commission's two designations in the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean. The review underscores the generally very limited contribution of whale sanctuaries to ecosystem-based management, unless they are explicit in stating conservation goals and embedding these within iterative management plans. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is cited as an example of an approach that comes closest to fulfilling the objectives of ecosystem-based management, albeit its designation lacks consideration of ecosystem dynamics and the interrelationships between multiple economic actors operating within its boundaries. In order to meet the requirements of Goal 14, the case studies in this paper reveal advancements necessary for whale sanctuaries to transition towards ecosystem-based management: establishment of objectives broader than the conservation of whale stocks, assessment of the contribution of the sanctuary to human well-being and trade-offs in ecosystem services, accounting for ecological and socio-economic dynamics, and ensuring broad stakeholder consultation and participatory adaptive management.
Coastal fishery systems in the Arctic are undergoing rapid change. This paper examines the ways in which Inuit fishers experience and respond to such change, using a case study from Pangnirtung, Canada. The work is based on over two years of fieldwork, during which semi-structured interviews (n = 62), focus group discussions (n = 6, 31 participants) and key informant interviews (n = 25) were conducted. The changes that most Inuit fishers experience are: changes in sea-ice conditions, Inuit people themselves, the landscape and the seascape, fish-related changes, and changes in weather conditions, markets and fish selling prices. Inuit fishers respond to change individually as well as collectively. Fishers’ responses were examined using the characteristics of a resilience-based conceptual framework focusing on place, human agency, collective action and collaboration, institutions, indigenous and local knowledge systems, and learning. Based on results, this paper identified three community-level adaptive strategies, which are diversification, technology use and fisheries governance that employs a co-management approach. Further, this work recognised four place-specific attributes that can shape community adaptations, which are Inuit worldviews, Inuit-owned institutions, a culture of sharing and collaborating, and indigenous and local knowledge systems. An examination of the ways in which Inuit fishers experience and respond to change is essential to better understand adaptations to climate change. This study delivers new insights to communities, scientists, and policymakers to work together to foster community adaptation.
Seafood mislabeling is receiving increased attention by civil society, and programs and policies to address it are being implemented widely. Yet, evidence for the causes of mislabeling are largely limited to anecdotes and untested hypotheses. Mislabeling is commonly assumed to be motivated by the desire to label a lesser value product as a higher value one. Using price data from mislabeling studies, Δmislabel is estimated (i.e., the difference between the price of a labeled seafood product and its substitute when it was not mislabeled) and a meta-analysis is conducted to evaluate the evidence for an overall mislabeling for profit driver for seafood fraud. Evidence is lacking; rather, Δmislabel is highly variable. Country nor location in the supply chain do not account for the observed heterogeneity. The Δmislabel of substitute species, however, provides insights. Some species, such a sturgeon caviar, Atlantic Salmon, and Yellowfin Tuna have a positive Δmislabel, and may have the sufficient characteristics to motivate mislabeling for profit. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and Patagonian Toothfish have a negative Δmislabel, which could represent an incentive to mislabel in order to facilitate market access for illegally-landed seafood. Most species have price differentials close to zero—suggesting other incentives may be influencing seafood mislabeling. Less than 10% of studies report price information; doing so more often could provide insights into the motivations for fraud. The causes of mislabeling appear to be diverse and context dependent, as opposed to being driven primarily by one incentive.
Worldwide, the loss of predatory fish due to overexploitation has altered the structure of native communities and caused ecosystem shifts. Ecosystems deprived of high-level predators may be more vulnerable to invasive alien species as the latter are subject to reduced predation control. Marine protected areas (MPAs), and particularly no-take reserves where fishing is banned, can be effective tools for the restoration of predatory relationships within their boundaries. We explored whether the restoration of high-level predatory fish populations within Mediterranean MPAs can exert top-down control on alien fish. Fish tethering experiments, including native (Sardina pilchardus, Boops boops) and alien (Siganus rivulatus) dead specimens, were conducted to quantify predation within the no-take zones of three MPAs and in unprotected areas, and to assess potential differences in predation rates and prey type preferences. A subsample of experimental units was filmed to document predation events and related fish behavior. More high-level predators interacted with the tethered fish inside the MPAs than in unprotected areas. Yet we did not find significant differences in the consumption of alien or native fishes between MPAs and unprotected areas. The native S. pilchardus was consumed more in comparison to the other tethered fishes, regardless of protection status and location. Interestingly, the alien S. rivulatus was consumed by native predators in the western Mediterranean locations where this alien fish is not established. Despite its limitations, our study provides evidence on the ability of some native predators to feed on and potentially control certain alien species without requiring ‘adaptive’ time-lag periods.
It is important to understand and predict fish behavior to assess the impacts of coastal development on ecosystems and to conduct appropriate fishery management. Fish dynamics models have been developed to consider the migration, growth, and population change for conger eel, etc. These models calculate fish behavior based on environmental factors (e.g., water temperature and dissolved oxygen). Meanwhile, since the responses to environmental factors are mainly determined by qualitative information or laboratory experiments, a more detailed investigation is required on the fish behavior in the actual sea. In the present study, in order to collect information for behavioral modeling of fish, we measured the environmental factors and the distribution of fish simultaneously by using fishing boats. The sensors were attached to the fishing gear of the small trawling boats in Ise Bay, Japan, through which the water temperature, and dissolved oxygen were measured along with positional information by using a global positioning system. At the same time, the fish catch of each haul by trawling was recorded, to grasp the fish distribution. The obtained data provided more information for temporal and spatial distribution of water qualities than conventional monitoring. The relationship between the fish density, indicated by Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE), and environmental factors also were analyzed. The CPUE of the conger eel increased at water temperatures of 18–20 °C and dissolved oxygen values around 2 mg L−1. These results explained the location of fishing grounds based on the fishermen's experiences that the conger eel tends to gather in marginal areas of hypoxia in the summer. These results will be useful to determine the parameters for the fish behavior model.
Marine habitats are nowadays strongly affected by human activities, while for many species the consequences of these impacts are still unclear. The red-throated diver (Gavia stellata) has been reported to be sensitive to ship traffic and other anthropogenic pressures and is consequently of high conservation concern. We studied red-throated divers in the German Bight (North Sea) using satellite telemetry and digital aerial surveys with the aim of assessing effects of ship traffic on the distribution and movements of this species during the non-breeding season. Data from the automatic identification system of ships (AIS) were intersected with bird data and allowed detailed spatial and temporal analyses. During the study period, ship traffic was present throughout the main distribution area of divers. Depending on impact radius, only small areas existed in which ship traffic was present on less than 20% of the days. Ship traffic was dominated by fishing vessels and cargo ships, but also wind farm-related ships were frequently recorded. Red-throated divers were more abundant in areas with no or little concurrent ship traffic. Analysis of aerial survey data revealed strong effects of ship speed on divers: in areas with vessels sailing at high speed only a slow resettlement of the area was observed after the disturbance, while in areas with vessels sailing at medium speed the resettlement was more rapid during the observed time period of 7 hours. Data from satellite-tracking of divers suggest that large relocation distances of individuals are related to disturbance by ships which often trigger birds to take flight. Effective measures to reduce disturbance could include channeled traffic in sensitive areas, as well as speed limits for ships traveling within the protected marine area.
Marine ecosystems are facing major anthropogenic disturbances, including loss of biodiversity, eutrophication, and biological invasions. Thus, attention has raised on marine conservation actions to preserve habitat resilience and biodiversity. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) play an essential role in marine conservation as they are usually designated to provide marine ecosystem resilience of native communities to human-induced impacts (including non-native introductions) while contributing with positive effects on other ecosystem services. The introduction of a new species in novel marine habitats has been attributed to biotic, abiotic, and anthropogenic factors. In the present study, the effects of native functional diversity, wave exposure were studied, and for the first time, marine protection was addressed concerning the invasion success of six macroalgae in two MPAs in the NW Iberian Peninsula. The correlation between the presence/absence of some native functional groups and the invasion success of some invasive species highlighted the importance of conserving native canopy-formers. Despite local differences, wave exposure did not affect invasion success. The protection provided by both MPAs was very limited to prevent the establishment and spread of the most abundant invasive macroalgae. Therefore, stricter management plans should be implemented to ensure native ecosystem resilience within the MPAs.
A growing number of studies suggest a participatory ecosystem approach to support decision-making toward resilience and sustainability in social-ecological systems. Social-ecological resilience (SER) principles and practices are recommended to manage natural crises. However, it is necessary to broaden our understanding of SER on human-induced disturbances driven by economic development projects. In this paper we present the social-ecological system of Araçá Bay (Brazil), a small-scale fishery community that has experienced successive disturbances due to development projects since the 1930s. There was a lack of studies about the impacts of development projects in this bay. As part of a major project that aimed to build an ecosystem-based management plan for Araçá Bay through a participatory planning process, we focused on investigating fishers’ traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to understand Araçá Bay’s small-scale fisheries social-ecological system. The objectives were to: (1) investigate fishers’ TEK regarding management practices and linked social mechanisms, human-induced disturbances and their consequences for the social-ecological system, ecosystem goods and services, and future threats; and (2) provide information based on TEK to the participatory planning process and analyze its contribution to Araçá Bay’s ecosystem-based management plan. Combined methods were used during 3 years of intense research-action (2014–2017): in-depth ethno-oceanographic interviews with expert fishers; monitoring Araçá Bay participatory meetings; and participant observation. Genuine local practices and social mechanisms from traditional culture were recorded, as well as TEK about 57 target fish species and methods to protect habitats and natural resources. Fishers also reported ecosystem disturbances and recovery processes. TEK was codified through SWOT analysis to assist the participatory planning process. Ecosystem services and threats based on TEK were brought to the participatory process, acknowledged by the participants, and incorporated into the management plan. TEK analysis proved to be an important methodology to provide historical environmental data regarding the impacts of development projects and support planning in disturbed ecosystems. In order to support coastal marine ecosystem-based management strategies toward SER and sustainability, researchers and practitioners should consider traditional territories in planning, recognize local practices and social mechanisms, and consider TEK on ecosystem goods and services and on historical human-induced disturbances.
Identification of an oil spill is additionally essential to evaluate the potential spread and float from the source to the adjacent coastal terrains. In such manner, usage of Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR) information for the recognition and checking of oil spills has gotten extensive consideration as of late, because of their wide zone inclusion, day-night and all-weather capabilities. The present examination studies an oil spill occurred in the Al Khafji region by applying Sentinel 1 SAR-C images. Al Khafji is on the borderline between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the Persian Gulf and it is detected as an unbiased zone. Al Khafji region can possibly deliver in excess of 7472.403m³ barrels of oil for every day (m³/d). Approaches dependent on multi-sensor satellite images examination have been produced for distinguishing oil spills from referred to common leaks just as oil slick procedures. In this paper, one of these techniques is associated with Sentinel 1 images of a known region of natural oil leakage and of an ongoing oil slick incident in Al Khafji zone. The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is perceived as the most significant remote sensing apparatus for the ocean and ocean waters oil slick examination, recording, documentation and propagation. Specifically, this paper examines oil spills recognition in the Persian Gulf surveyed by utilizing Sentinel-1 (SAR-C) imageries. Results demonstrated the significance of the VV polarization of the Sentinel-1 for recognizing oil-spills just as the diminished utility of the VH polarization in this sole circumstance.
To determine the relationship between the intent of owners of homes located near sea turtle nesting beaches in the state of Florida to engage in coastal conservation easements (CCE), the theory of planned behavior (TPB), environmental identity (EI) and relevant demographics were analyzed. As CCEs are a novel application of a proven conservation tool, a statewide survey was administered to 1274 property owners living within a mile of a protected section of sea turtle nesting habitat (e.g. state park, preserve, wildlife refuge). Multiple linear regression showed coastal property owners were more likely to engage with a CCE if they believed they had the ability and opportunity, held positive attitudes about entering into a CCE, and identified more favorably with potential CCE motivators for property owners. These motivators include receiving assistance from a conservation organization to manage their beachfront land; conserving beach habitat; obtaining annual tax deductions; and trusting the organization administering a CCE. Knowing these motivators and demographics of coastal property owners can help aid coastal land conservationists in crafting strategies to conserve sea turtle nesting beaches.
Coral reefs ecosystems fulfil important ecological functions, but risk degradation not only from climate change but also from increasing demands for the socioeconomic functions they also offer to local communities and international tourism. Coral reef diving tourism is a source of environmental pressure but at the same time represents a source of conservation funding, balancing these pressures. Tailoring the divers' experience to extract increased payments requires insights into the role of diving experiences for willingness to pay (WTP) for the access to dive in the waters surrounding Sipadan. We developed a choice experiment and applied it to a sample of 507 recreational scuba divers at the diving site Sipadan, Borneo in Malaysia. We investigated the role of divers’ most recent and overall diving experiences for their willingness to pay additional diving fees for features related to the conservation status and the diving operations. Results show that a majority of divers prefer lower litter pollution levels in the water and lower density of divers in each dive. When comparing the less experienced divers with the more experienced divers, the latter group express significant preferences over more of the marine biodiversity and recreational attributes of the diving experience. The less experienced group only tended to express significant preferences for fewer of these attributes. We also note that less experienced divers are more likely to have felt crowded and less likely to have seen pelagic species, suggesting, which may, in turn, explain their lower observed WTP.
A high-resolution ocean circulation model for the Indian Ocean (IO) using Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) is operational at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) which provides ocean state forecasts for the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and the Arabian Sea (AS) to the Indian Ocean rim countries. To provide an improved estimate of ocean state, a variant of Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF), viz., the Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (LETKF) has been developed and interfaced with the present basin-wide operational ROMS. This system assimilates in-situ temperature and salinity profiles and satellite track data of sea-surface temperature (SST). The ensemble members of the assimilation system are initialized with different parameters like diffusion and viscosity coefficients and are subjected to an ensemble of atmospheric fluxes. In addition, one half of the ensemble members respond to K profile parameterization mixing scheme while the other half is subjected to Mellor-Yamada mixing scheme. This strategy aids in arresting the filter divergence which has always been a challenging task. The assimilated system simulates the ocean state better than the present operational ROMS. Improvements permeate to deeper ocean depths with better correlation and reduced root-mean-squared deviation (RMSD) with respect to observations particularly in the northern Indian Ocean which is data rich in density. Analysis shows domain averaged RMSD reduction of about 0.2 - 0.4 °C in sea surface temperature and 2 - 4 cm in sea level anomaly. The assimilated system also manages to significantly improve the thickness of the temperature inversion layers and the duration of its occurrence in northern Bay of Bengal. The most profound improvements are seen in currents, with an error reduction of 15 cm/s in zonal currents of central Bay of Bengal.
Habitat suitability models are being used worldwide to help map and manage marine areas of conservation importance and scientific interest. With groundtruthing, these models may be found to successfully predict patches of occurrence, but whether all patches are part of a larger interbreeding metapopulation is much harder to assert. Here we use a North Atlantic deep-sea case study to demonstrate how dispersal models may help to complete the picture. Pheronema carpenteri is a deep-sea sponge that, in aggregation, forms a vulnerable marine ecosystem in the Atlantic Ocean. Published predictive distribution models from United Kingdom and Irish waters have now gained some support from targeted groundtruthing, but known aggregations are distantly fragmented with little predicted habitat available in-between. Dispersal models were used to provide spatial predictions of the potential connectivity between these patches. As little is known of P. carpenteri’s reproductive methods, twenty-four model set-ups with different dispersal assumptions were simulated to present a large range of potential dispersal patterns. The results suggest that up to 53.1% of the total predicted habitat may be reachable in one generation of dispersal from known populations. Yet, even in the most dispersive scenario, the known populations in the North (Hatton-Rockall Basin) and the South (Porcupine Sea Bight) are predicted to be unconnected, resulting in the relative isolation of these patches across multiple generations. This has implications for Ireland’s future conservation efforts as they may have to conserve patches from more than one metapopulation. This means that conserving one patch may not demographically support the other, requiring additional attentions to ensure that marine protected areas are ecologically coherent and sustainable. This example serves as a demonstration of a combined modeling approach where the comparison between predicted distribution and dispersal maps can highlight areas with higher conservation needs.
Only 1% of plastic entering the ocean is found floating on its surface, with high loads in ocean accumulation zones and semi-enclosed seas, except for the Red Sea, which supports one of the lowest floating plastic loads worldwide. Given the extension of reefs in the Red Sea, we hypothesize a major role of scleractinian corals as sinks, through suspension-feeding, and assessed microplastic removal rates by three Red Sea coral species. Experimental evidence showed removal rates ranging from 0.25 × 10−3 to 14.8 × 10−3 microplastic particles polyp−1 hour−1, among species. However, this was only 2.2 ± 0.6% of the total removal rate, with passive removal through adhesion to the coral surface being 40 times higher than active removal through suspension-feeding. These results point at adhesion of plastic to coral reef structures as a major sink for microplastics suspended in the water column after sinking, helping explain low concentrations in Red Sea surface waters.
There is an on-going process to establish Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in England, to form part of a coherent and representative network of marine protected areas under national and EU legislation. From 2009 to 2011, the MCZ process included strong participatory elements. Four regional multi-sector stakeholder groups developed MCZ recommendations collaboratively, in line with ecological guidance provided by the Government's nature conservation advisers. This guidance was based on Government policy principles, including that MCZs should be designated based on ‘best available evidence’. This paper analyses the multi-dimensional conflicts that emerged within the stakeholder group in south-west England, which were magnified by uncertainty about future MCZ management. In September 2011, after working through these conflicts through trade-offs and negotiations, the stakeholder groups jointly recommended 127 MCZs to Government. The process subsequently shifted to a top-down approach, with further stakeholder engagement limited to bilateral consultation. There was a concurrent shift in policy, from a broad-scale network-level focus towards single-feature conservation. A lengthy series of evidence reviews concluded that the existing evidence at the time was insufficient to progress with the designation of most sites, marking a clear departure from the policy principle of proceeding with the designation of a representative network based on ‘best available evidence’, and effectively undermining the work carried out by stakeholder groups. Though MCZ designation was originally timetabled for 2012, in November 2013 just 27 of the recommended 127 MCZs were designated in a first tranche. At the time, no clear timetable was in place for subsequent tranches.
- Marine protected areas (MPAs) are widely used as management tools to conserve species and ecosystems at risk from human impact. Coastal managers often focus MPA designation on biogenic reef environments due to their value and sensitivity to damage. However, difficulties in enforcement and a lack of capacity to adequately monitor MPAs often make it hard for managers to assess the effectiveness of MPAs, particularly in under‐resourced, low‐income coastal countries.
- Reef community data were collected at three long‐term managed reserves within the Western Visayas region of the central Philippines in order to assess the state of reef community structure inside and outside of these small‐scale locally managed MPAs. In addition, 3D structural data were captured using recently developed 'Structure from Motion' photogrammetry techniques, demonstrating how multiple quantitative metrics of physical structural complexity and health can be recorded in such analyses.
- These community‐run MPAs were shown to be effective even when small (10–20 ha). Mean fish biomass density was five times greater within present‐day protected sites, alongside significantly increased levels of fish diversity, richness, and size. No significant structural differences were observed inside and outside of MPAs; however, average reef rugosity, height, and roughness were significantly higher in unfished reefs compared to blast‐fished reefs. Reef substrate complexity, coral composition, and level of management, were also shown to structure fish community assemblages, with the link between reef structure and fish richness/abundance disrupted outside of MPAs.
- The Structure from Motion technique allows a greater range of quantitative morphometrics to be assessed than traditional methods and at relatively low cost. The technique is rapid, non‐destructive and can be archived, increasing the value of data for managers wishing to quantify reef health and efficiently monitor benthic changes through time. We discuss both the limitations and benefits of this technology's future use.
One of the most pervasive signals of global climate change is altered patterns of distribution with trends towards poleward shifts of species. While habitat loss and destruction has severed connections between people and salmon in many locales, salmon fisheries in the high Arctic are just beginning to develop. To explore these emergent connections, we gathered local knowledge about Pacific salmon and emerging subsistence salmon fisheries in the Beaufort Sea region through ethnographic research in Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow) and Nuiqsut, Alaska. Between 2010 and 2013, we interviewed 41 active fishermen and Elders who generally agreed that harvests of Pacific salmon species have been increasing in recent years, beginning in the 1990s and early 2000s. About 46% of active fishermen and Elders who discussed salmon abundance perceived an increasing trend over time. Another 43% characterized salmon abundance as cyclical or perceived no directional trend over time. The remaining fishermen (all from Nuiqsut) expressed their perception of decreasing salmon and fish abundance overall related to oil and gas development impacts to their local lands and waters. Given these mixed perceptions and harvests being an imperfect proxy for abundance, it remains unclear whether salmon populations are expanding in Arctic river systems. However, research participants have identified new stream systems not currently documented in the scientific literature where salmon are present and thought to be spawning. In both communities, we found that many fishermen and Elders often do not differentiate Pacific salmon species. Fishermen in both communities are developing new knowledge of salmon and increasing their use of salmon as a subsistence resource, yet uncertainties in the current data and local knowledge combine to generate equivocal evidence that salmon abundance is increasing. This lack of a clear increase in salmon abundance provides nuance to a simple story that warming has led to the increases of salmon in the Arctic. Despite the uncertainty regarding abundance, it is clear we are witnessing an emergence of new salmon fisheries in the high Arctic, perceived to be one among a suite of environmental and social changes currently being experienced in this region.
Fully protected areas (FPAs) help preserving biodiversity and reversing the global decline of fishery resources. Stocks of the European spiny lobster Palinurus elephas (Fabr. 1787), among the most precious gourmet seafood worldwide, are currently facing a dramatic decline. Previous attempts of recovery based on fishery restrictions or active post-larval restocking in marine reserves provided unsuccessful outcomes. Here we present results of a 5-year restocking program carried through a Collaborative Fishery Research (CFR) project, in three ad-hoc established FPAs replenished using below-legal size wild juveniles. Results showed that Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE) in terms of both density and biomass burst (by ca. 300–700%) just 2 years since FPAs establishment, regardless of location. We also report tangible spillover effects (ca. 30–50% increase in density and biomass CPUE outside the FPAs) by the end of the program. Data from a 15-years lasting monitoring of a pilot FPA established in 1998, where the restocking protocol was conducted and protection kept in force once restocking ceased, demonstrated the persistence in time of restocking’ benefits. We foster that creation of FPAs assisted with local restocking under oriented CFR programs can represent an option for the recovery of European spiny lobster stocks from overfishing
Our goal is to study the role of demographic change in the development and spread of maritime adaptations in the North American Arctic over the last 6000 years. We compile and analyze a regional radiocarbon database (n = 935) for northern Alaska, using Oxcal to analyze demographic patterns in summed probability distributions. We find that northern Alaskan populations grew significantly over the last 4500 years, although growth was punctuated by three periods of decline from approximately 3700 to 3125 cal BP, 1000 cal BP, and 600 cal BP. We assess possible alternative explanations for the observed demographic patterns (e.g. calibration and taphonomic effects, investigator bias). Region-wide erosion and calibration effects likely contribute to the dearth of radiocarbon dates around 1000 cal BP, and sampling bias may contribute to the post-600 cal BP decline. However, we conclude that the overall pattern reflects regional population growth, decline, and recovery. Population growth predates intensification of marine resource procurement by at least 1200 years; we hypothesize that population growth was a possible driver for late Holocene marine intensification in the Arctic. These findings have further implications for understanding the process of intensification and the development of complexity in coastal hunter-gatherer societies.