Late Holocene Marshall Islands archaeological tuna records provide proxy evidence for ENSO variability in the western and central Pacific Ocean

Lambrides, Ariana B.J., and Weisler, Marshall I. (2018) Late Holocene Marshall Islands archaeological tuna records provide proxy evidence for ENSO variability in the western and central Pacific Ocean. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 13 (4). pp. 531-562.

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Tuna will have increased importance to Pacific Island nations in coming decades for food security and economic needs; consequently, sustainable fisheries management policies are imperative. The frequency and temporal distribution of tuna bones from tropical Pacific archaeological sites is essential for documenting millennial-scale records that detail the responses of tuna stocks to anthropogenic fishing pressure and climatic variability. We highlight the potential impacts of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability on the western and central Pacific Ocean skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) fishery over the last 2,000 years. Ebon Atoll (4°38'24.67''N, 168°42'23.56''E), Republic of the Marshall Islands archaeological data and regional western and central Pacific Islands archaeological tuna fishery data are evaluated. These datasets are compared to palaeoclimate records, which track hydroclimate variability during the last 2,000 years, and recent historic capture records, which document associations between ENSO and skipjack abundance and range throughout the tropical Pacific Ocean. Results suggest that regional and temporal trends in archaeological scombrid/skipjack abundance provide proxy evidence for western and central Pacific Ocean ENSO variability, while prehistoric human impacts to the tuna fishery appear to be negligible. Future research should include species-level identification of all archaeological tuna bones and establish fine-grained local climate data across the region that is tied to well-dated archaeological sequences, thus enhancing our understanding of how regional climate influences the geographic distribution and relative abundance of tuna species over millennia.

Item ID: 58900
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1556-1828
Keywords: El Niño-Southern Oscillation, historical ecology, Katsuwonus pelamis, Pacific Islands, zooarchaeology
Funders: University of Queensland (UQ), Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE)
Projects and Grants: UQ Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, AINSE grant ALNGRA 12004
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2019 03:53
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4513 Pacific Peoples culture, language and history > 451301 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand) @ 50%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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