Ecological Baselines, Long-Term Population Histories, and the Zooarchaeological Record

Author(s): Kelly Beck

Year: 2015


The potential for zooarchaeological data to inform modern conservation issues is unquestioned by archaeologists; however, with a few notable exceptions, such an approach has been underutilized. Zooarchaeological data are uniquely positioned to provide a long-term view on the population history and variation in foraging ecology of a species. Such information is paramount to conservation efforts for threatened taxa, particularly in addressing what has been called by conservation ecologists the "Shifting Baselines Syndrome." This poster uses ancient DNA and stable isotope data to investigate the late Holocene population history and feeding ecology of Guadalupe fur seals from San Miguel Island, California. Ancient DNA sequence variation suggests that Guadalupe fur seal populations on San Miguel Island were fairly substantial and remained stable throughout the late Holocene. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios from these same specimens indicate little variation in fur seal feeding ecology across the same time span. Together, these inferences of late Holocene Guadalupe fur seal population history and feeding ecology provide significant, new baseline information regarding long-term variation in these ecological characteristics important to ongoing conservation and management efforts.

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Cite this Record

Ecological Baselines, Long-Term Population Histories, and the Zooarchaeological Record. Kelly Beck. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398322)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;