The research reported in this chapter has proceeded on the assumption that zooarchaeological, stable isotopic, and ancient DNA analyses can, in combination, elucidate the longer-term histories of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) in the North Pacific. After a decade of collaboration by investigators from several institutions and agencies, this expectation has proved to be justified. This chapter reviews current state of knowledge about the distribution of northern fur seal remains in the Greater Monterey Bay region, commenting on emerging geographic and temporal patterns. It then presents detailed data on the ecology of present-day northern fur seals and discusses possible differences in ecological parameters between the ancient California Callorhinus population and its contemporaneous cousins north of Oregon. It also considers how these factors, in concert with human predation, may have contributed to the Middle to Late Holocene demise of near-coastal rookeries in California. Finally, it outlines some ways in which collaborative approaches can shed light on emerging questions and problems in northern fur seal historical ecology.
Keywords: Holocene; Monterey Bay; northern fur seals; ancient DNA; distribution; ecology; California; Oregon; human predation; rookeries
Chapter. 11708 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences
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