The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future hosted a seminar on January 18, 2019, titled, “Using Historical Approaches to Improve Ocean Conservation and Management,” featuring Ruth Thurstan, a Lecturer in Biosciences at the University of Exeter and the co-chair of the International Council for Exploration of the Seas’ Working Group on the History of Fish and Fisheries.
Human-induced ecological changes to oceans and coasts span much longer periods of time than formal scientific monitoring data. To understand the scale of past changes to marine ecosystems, we need to seek data from alternative sources. Marine historical ecology is an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to understand how marine ecosystems looked and functioned in the past, how humans have interacted with these ecosystems over time, and the extent to which those interactions have altered these ecosystems.
In her talk, Thurstan highlighted some of the historical sources — including government statistical records, popular media, and oral history interviews — that have aided her research on the scale and drivers of ecological change in UK and Australian fisheries over the past couple of centuries. She also explored the challenges that arise when conducting historical ecology research, and the opportunities for these valuable data sets to inform contemporary ocean management and policy.
Watch the full talk and discussion in the window above. Click here to read a feature on the seminar published in The Daily Free Press.