February 23, 2011, 4:00 PM, Memorial Union Theater II
Lecture Summary: Since ancient times, coastal people all around the world have used seafood as a major contribution to their diet. This included a wide range of species from shellfish and fish to coastal birds, sea turtles and marine mammals. Marine resources were also used for other purposes such as clothing, fuel, medicine, tools and ornaments. Records of marine fishing, hunting and harvesting date back to more than 100,000 years ago, although the deeper the past the sparser is the available information. Until recently we did not know much about the environmental history of the sea. Over the past decade, however, more and more researchers dug deeper into the past probing various sources of information to gain insight into the history of marine animal populations and ocean ecosystems. Here, I will present examples from archaeological records, historical information, and modern data to outline the history of seafood use since ancient times, and how it has changed over past millennia and centuries. I will contrast our common vision of a “Sea of Plenty” with oceans that are full of fish and inexhaustible with early signs of overfishing found in archaeological and historical records. Based on the long history human influences on the sea, I will then provide an overview on the current state of the ocean’s living resources, current issues in resource management and conservation, and future perspectives on our use of seafood. Finally, I will discuss what we can do for the recovery of marine species and the rebuilding of marine fisheries and ocean ecosystems to sustain plentiful seas in the future.
Biography: Heike Lotze is an Assistant Professor in Marine Biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Marine Renewable Resources. Trained in marine ecology and biological oceanography, she has a strong interest in how human activities alter marine populations and ocean ecosystems. In her research, she tries to reconstruct the long-term history of human-induced changes in the ocean, to disentangle the cumulative effects of multiple human activities, and to analyze the consequences of human-induced changes on the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems and the services they provide for human well-being. Dr. Lotze received her Masters in Biology in 1994 and PhD in Biological Oceanography in 1998 from Kiel University in Germany. She has worked as a post-doctoral fellow and research associate at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, the Alfred-Wegner Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, and participated in several working groups at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California.