The Middle Holocene, a Plausible View of the Future

Related Articles

Related Articles

Global warming will modify the distribution and abundance of fish worldwide, with effects on the structure and dynamics of food networks.

However, making precise predictions on the consequences of this global phenomenon is hard without having a wide historical perspective.

A study carried out at the University of Barcelona and the Southern Centre for Scientific Research (CADIC-CONICET, Argentina), analysed the potential implications in the distribution of the Argentinian hake (Merluccius hubbsi), caused by the warming of marine waters. The study is based on the analysis of the structure of the marine ecosystems from 6,000 to 500 years ago, when temperatures were warmer than now. The results show this species could expand towards south and reach the coast of the South America extreme southern area, like it happened in the past. According to the researchers, this approach allows researchers to make predictions on the transformations to be caused by the climate change in the marine environment with important ecogical and economic implications.

 

The study, published in the journal Oecologia, is part of the doctoral thesis by the researcher Maria Bas, member of CADIC-CONICET and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona, co-supervised by the tenure-track 2 lecturer Lluís Cardona, from the Research Groups on Large Marine Vertebrates at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences of the Faculty of Biology and IRBio, and by the expert Ivan Briz i Godino, from CADIC-CONICET. York University (United Kingdom) and British Columbia University (Canada) have also taken part in the study.

The Middle Holocene, a plausible view of the future

Researchers focused on the Atlantic coast of Isla Grande in Tierra del Fuego, in the extreme south of Argentina, where the hake is a key species for industrial fisheries. They collected samples from two archaeological sites dating from the Middle Holocene, that is, between 6,000 and 500 years ago, a period when temperatures would be analogous to those we are heading to in the future -according to climate models. “Remains from fish that lived in the warmest periods of the Holocene are specially interesting since they offer a plausible view of the future in the context of global warming. At the moment, the average annual temperature of the sea surface in Tierra del Fuego is about 7ºC, but during the Middle Holocene it reached 11 and 12ºC. Therefore, data on the biology of the hake during this period can provide information on the distribution of this species in a near future”, note the authors.

The presence of remains from other models of hake in the archaeological site Río Chico 1, in the north of Tierra del Fuego (Argentina), show the existence of a large population of hake in the northern east of Tierra del Fuego during the Middle Holocene. Since then, this population disappeared due to the cooling temperatures and their habitat was unknown.

Changes in the distribution of the Argentinian hake

In order to discover the habitat of these fish, the first step in the study was to identify the remains through the mitochondrial DNA analysis and make a reconstruction of the size of old models. Then, researchers used the technique of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis to study changes in the trophic position and the use of the habitat over time. This technique enables researchers to get information on the food intake, and the environment of the species that lived in a recent past, since the information is registered in the bone isotopic signal.

Results show that Argentinian hake that lived in the Atlantic coast of Tierra del Fuego during the Middle Holocene had a broader isotopic niche and fed in more coastal habitats compared to those in current times. “This information, combined with strong winds and currents of the region, together with the lack of sailing technology during the Middle Holocene suggest that groups of aboriginal hunter-fisher-gatherers were likely to fish in the shore”, note the authors. If the environmental conditions of a warmer world coincide with what prevails in the Middle Holocene, the Argentinian hake could be more abundant in the continental Argentinian platform of Tierra del Fuego. “From a fishing perspective, this situation suggests a potential increase of resources in shallow waters regarding Tierra del Fuego with important changes in the fishing industry in this region”, highlights Lluís Cardona.

According to the researchers, this methodology can be used with other species and in other areas of the planet. “In the future, we would like to know the changes that have taken place in the distribution and ecological niche of the hake and the cod in European waters”, concludes the researcher.

UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA

Header Image – Tierra del Fuego – Image Credit : Nasa

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Walking, Talking and Showing Off – a History of Roman Gardens

In ancient Rome, you could tell a lot about a person from the look of their garden. Ancient gardens were spaces used for many activities, such as dining, intellectual practice, and religious rituals.

Curious Kids: How did the First Person Evolve?

We know humans haven’t always been around. After all, we wouldn’t have survived alongside meat-eating dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex.

Ring-like Structure on Ganymede May Have Been Caused by a Violent Impact

Researchers from Kobe University and the National Institute of Technology, Oshima College have conducted a detailed reanalysis of image data from Voyager 1, 2 and Galileo spacecraft in order to investigate the orientation and distribution of the ancient tectonic troughs found on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.

Tracing Evolution From Embryo to Baby Star

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) took a census of stellar eggs in the constellation Taurus and revealed their evolution state.

“Woodhenge” Discovered in the Iberian Peninsula

Archaeologists conducting research in the Perdigões complex in the Évora district of the Iberian Peninsula has uncovered a “Woodhenge” monument.

New Fossil Discovery Shows How Ancient ‘Hell Ants’ Hunted With Headgear

Researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Chinese Academy of Sciences and University of Rennes in France have unveiled a stunning 99-million-year-old fossil pristinely preserving an enigmatic insect predator from the Cretaceous Period -- a 'hell ant' (haidomyrmecine) -- as it embraced its unsuspecting final victim, an extinct relative of the cockroach known as Caputoraptor elegans.

New Algorithm Suggests That Early Humans and Related Species Interbred Early and Often

A new analysis of ancient genomes suggests that different branches of the human family tree interbred multiple times, and that some humans carry DNA from an archaic, unknown ancestor.

Long Neck Helped Reptile Hunt Underwater

Its neck was three times as long as its torso, but had only 13 extremely elongated vertebrae: Tanystropheus, a bizarre giraffe-necked reptile which lived 242 million years ago, is a paleontological absurdity.

Popular stories

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.

Did Corn Fuel Cahokia’s Rise?

A new study suggests that corn was the staple subsistence crop that allowed the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to rise to prominence and flourish for nearly 300 years.

The Real Dracula?

“Dracula”, published in 1897 by the Irish Author Bram Stoker, introduced audiences to the infamous Count and his dark world of sired vampiric minions.