"Ocean historians are creatively mining a host of information sources such as the logs of schooner captains and salt tax collectors to reconstruct amazing and valuable insights into fishing and marine life decades and even centuries ago," says Jesse Ausubel, CoML project director for the New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
"The historical component of the Census is creating a picture of what lived in the oceans before fishing became important, and how these populations have changed since fishing loomed large ?a time 50 years ago in some areas, 500 in others, and 1,000 or more in a few," he says.
"The history of marine animal populations is a blind spot in human knowledge being filled by the combined efforts of historians, paleo-ecologists, and ecosystem modelers. Helping visualize the past, now almost unimaginable richness of the oceans could inspire and influence the way marine resources are managed in future."
For more conference information, including media registration, see http://www.hmapcoml.org/Default.asp?ID=248
The History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP)
The History of Marine Animal Populations program, part of the Census of Marine Life, aims to improve understanding of ecosystem dynamics, specifically long term changes in stock abundance, the ecological impact of large scale harvesting by man, and the role of marine resources in the historical development of human society.
Census of Marine Life
More than 1,700 scientists from 73 countries are at work on the Census, designed to assess the diversity, distribution and abundance of ocean life and explain how it changes over time. The scientists, their institutions and government agencies are pooling
Source:Census of Marine Life