Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Proxies for Marine Ecosystem Change in the North Pacific: Projecting Future Changes from the Analysis of Stable Isotope Ratios and Mercury Content in Prehistoric Pinniped and Sea Otter Bone Collagen

Event Name/Location

2010 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, Oregon, February 22-26, 2010

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Biosignatures and proxies, Paleoclimatology and paleoceanography, Higher trophic levels, Arctic region


In this paper we present the results of analyses of stable carbon and nitrogen ratios in the bone collagen of prehistoric pinniped and sea otters from archaeological deposits in the Gulf of Alaska region. These data are useful as proxies of past changes in primary productivity and food web length, especially when considered in light of known paleoclimate episodes. We also present data on total mercury (tHg) values in these same samples demonstrating a relationship between isotopic signature, tHg, and paleoenvironmental change across the region. We discuss the need for long-term (paleo) observations of upper trophic levels, and the implications of these data for projecting ecosystem change under future climate scenarios.


Eos Trans. AGU, 91(26), Ocean Sci. Meet. Suppl.

Additional Comments

Identifier: IT35I-06

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