Navigation Links
Archaeological study shows human activity may have boosted shellfish size
Date:8/31/2010

In a counter-intuitive finding, new research from North Carolina State University shows that a species of shellfish widely consumed in the Pacific over the past 3,000 years has actually increased in size, despite and possibly because of increased human activity in the area.

"What we've found indicates that human activity does not necessarily mean that there is going to be a negative impact on a species even a species that people relied on as a major food source," says Dr. Scott Fitzpatrick, associate professor of sociology and anthropology at NC State and co-author of the study. "The trends we see in the archaeological record in regard to animal remains are not always what one would expect."

At issue is the humped conch, Strombus gibberulus, a small mollusk that has been a food source in the Pacific islands for thousands of years. The researchers dated and measured more than 1,400 humped conch shells found at an archaeological site on the island of Palau in the western Pacific. They expected the size of the conchs to decrease over time, based on the conventional wisdom that an expanding human population would result in the conchs being harvested before they could achieve their maximum size.

Instead, the researchers were surprised to find that the average size of the conchs actually increased in conjunction with a growing human population. Specifically, the length of the average conch increased by approximately 1.5 millimeters (mm) over the past 3,000 years. That may not sound like much, but it is significant when you consider the conchs are only around 30 mm long which means the conchs are now almost 5 percent larger than they used to be.

Fitzpatrick believes the size increase is likely related to an increase in nutrients in the conch's waters, stemming from increased agriculture and other human activities.

"In the big picture," Fitzpatrick says, "this study tells us to focus on the physical evidence and beware of conventional wisdom. It also tells us that using a large number of samples is important. Previous studies had shown a decline in conch size at Pacific archaeological sites but they used smaller sample sizes. Maybe that is a factor in their findings."


'/>"/>

Contact: Matt Shipman
matt_shipman@ncsu.edu
919-515-6386
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Queens helps produce archaeological time machine
2. Shipworm threatens archaeological treasures
3. Study: The bright red of cardinals means less in urban areas
4. New study shows that oilsands mining and processing are polluting the Athabasca River
5. BUSPH study observes link between decongestant use in pregnant women and lower risk of preterm birth
6. Study points to key genetic driver of severe allergic asthma
7. Neuronal diversity makes a difference, says Carnegie Mellon study
8. Jefferson receives $3 million NIH grant to study molecular and genetic mechanisms in platelets
9. Texas A&M research produces tools to study stallions subfertility
10. UCI-Scripps study links cellular motors to memory
11. Coral off Puerto Ricos coast ideal case study for Gulf oil spills impact
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Archaeological study shows human activity may have boosted shellfish size
(Date:6/1/2016)... , June 1, 2016 ... in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global ... a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics ... Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the ... billion by 2021, on account of growing security concerns ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a brand of ... results from the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables ... consumers, receptivity to a program where they would receive ... insurance company. "We were surprised to see ... Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... -- First quarter 2016:   , Revenues ... first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% ... and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per ... from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook ... 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new Young ... cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool of ... More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering company, ... financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing will ... its drug development efforts, as well as purchase additional ... has been an incredible strategic partner to us – ... would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that ... joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that ... of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings ...
Breaking Biology Technology: