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The Effects of Human Hunting on Northern Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinus) Migration and Breeding Distributions in the HoloceneEPA Grant Number: U915384
Title: The Effects of Human Hunting on Northern Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinus) Migration and Breeding Distributions in the Holocene
Investigators: Etnier, Michael A.
Institution: University of Washington
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: September 1, 1998 through September 1, 2001
Project Amount: $87,767
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences , Fellowship - Anthropology
The objectives of this research project are to: (1) determine whether there is any archaeological evidence of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) breeding between Oregon and Alaska; and (2) determine what role, if any, human hunting pressure may have played in structuring the modern breeding distribution of fur seals, which presently is limited to the central Bering Sea and southern California. Although I have data spanning the past 2,000 years, the most reliable samples derive from archaeological sites over the past 500 years.
I will utilize three main sources of data to evaluate: (1) the degree to which fur seal breeding and/or migration have changed; and (2) determine the timing and likely causal factors in those changes. Demographic profiles of fur seal skeletal remains will be used to track minimum age and average age over time as an indication of population health. Thin sections of canine teeth will be used to evaluate variability in the growth rate of individuals, as a proxy of population levels. Stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen will be analyzed to reconstruct migration patterns and long-term trends in oceanographic conditions.