Complex Systems: 'Are Humans Just Another Predator? The Roles of Human Foragers in North Pacific Marine Food Webs'

2014-03-03 by News, Sports, and Art

Most studies of humans and ecosystems present human impacts on ecosystems. However, our ability to understand and mitigate such impacts depends on the roles humans play in ecosystems. Food webs provide a useful way to quantify ecological roles of species including humans. By synthesizing 6,000 years of biological, archeological, ethnographic and other data from marine ecosystems in the North Pacific, in particular the Sanak Archipelago in the Eastern Aleutian Islands, we can characterize how Unangan/Aleut hunter-gatherers fit into complex marine food webs, how they compared to other predators and how their behaviors might have affected long-term ecosystem sustainability.

About the speaker: Jennifer Dunne’s research is in analysis, modeling and theory of organization, dynamics and function of complex species interaction. Much of this work focuses on the basic architecture for the flow of energy and resources in ecosystems that play a central role in ecological and evolutionary dynamics, and seeks to identify fundamental patterns and principles of ecological network structure. She is extending the scope and impact of this research with interdisciplinary collaborations in archaeology, art, computer science, economics, evolutionary theory, microbiology, paleobiology, parasitology, physics and social science. She received a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley, held a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research fellowship in biological informatics, and has been on the faculty of the Santa Fe Institute since 2007.

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For More Information:

Complex Systems
UAA Complex Systems Website