Addressing a complex resource conflict: humans, sea otters, and shellfish in Southeast Alaska
AuthorIbarra, Sonia Natalie
ChairEckert, Ginny L.
Langdon, Stephen J.
Shellfish as food
Traditional ecological knowledge
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractComplex resource conflicts may benefit from the inclusion of social-ecological systems approaches that recognize the complex linkages between humans and their environment. Competition for shared shellfish resources by sea otters and humans in Southeast Alaska has caused food security concerns, cultural and economic losses, and uncertainty about the future of various fisheries, including rural subsistence-based fisheries. In rural Alaska Native communities, access to subsistence resources are critical to maintaining a way of life, with deeply rooted knowledge systems that are tied to the land, water, and natural resources. This dissertation documents Indigenous and local knowledge of Alaska Native customary and traditional food experts, sea otter hunters, and elders (hereafter harvest experts) to understand empirical observation and interpretations of restoring balance with sea otters. This work took place within the traditional territories of the Tlingit and Haida people of Southeast Alaska in four rural communities, Kake, Klawock, Craig, and Hydaburg. With Tribal leaders and harvest experts, my collaborators and I used a participatory framework that became a formal partnership to co-develop study goals, objectives, and methodology. Through a multiple evidence-based approach, I co-conducted semidirected and site visit interviews, structured questionnaires, mapping exercises, and participant observation in all four communities, and intertidal bivalve (shellfish) surveys in Hydaburg and Kake. Qualitative and quantitative approaches revealed local and Indigenous knowledge about sea otters caused changes to subsistence shellfish resources and harvesting patterns that included declines in availability and spatial extent of shellfish harvests, and shifts in shellfish harvest hotspots. Community adaptive strategies to observed shellfish declines include shifting harvest locations away from sea otter presence. Community management recommendations about restoring balance with sea otters include increasing sea otter hunting locally using spatially explicit techniques. Financial subsidies for sea otter hunters, creating local tanneries, legal changes to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and market creation and development for sea otter handicrafts were noted as solutions to barriers of local implementation to management recommendations. Commercial and charter fisheries are other factors that have contributed to shellfish declines. Butter clam (Saxidomus gigantea) size and density declined with increased distance to community and increased sea otter activity near Hydaburg, demonstrating the influence of sea otters and human harvests on bivalve population dynamics. Application of these results about Indigenous knowledge, management, and governance systems to sea otter management in Alaska could create a more inclusive, equitable and community-driven management approach.
DescriptionThesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2021
Table of ContentsGeneral introduction -- Chapter 1: Documenting community observations and interpretations of reductions to customary and traditional shellfish resources among Indigenous communities in Southeast Alaska with sea otters -- Chapter 2: Two top predators and their interaction: Butter clam (Saxidomus giganteus) abundance and size distribution across indices of sea otter and human harvest -- Chapter 3: Community management recommendations and governance: Contemporary intersection of sea otters, indigenous communities, and shellfish in Southeast Alaska -- General Conclusion.
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Bacteria associated with paralytic shellfish toxin-producing strains of Anabaena circinalisRaudonis, Renee Alaine (2007-12)Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) are produced by dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria. There is growing evidence that bacteria associated with dinoflagellates play a role in the production of PSTs, however, no studies have examined the type of bacteria associated with toxic cyanobacteria or the role these bacteria could play in PST-production or metabolism. Further, there are no known axenic cultures of PST-producing cyanobacteria, suggesting that cyanobacteria are dependent on one or more bacteria for growth/survival. The research reported here examined the bacterial community associated with six Australian freshwater cyanobacterial strains of Anabaena circinalis obtained from the CSIRO, three toxic and three non-toxic. The goal was to identify bacteria that could be essential for cyanobacterial growth/survival and/or PST production/metabolism. Confirmation of cyanobacterial species identification was confirmed by molecular techniques; one species was found to be more closely related to Anabaena flos-aquae. PST-production by the three toxic strains was confirmed using HPLC. Bacterial communities associated with the cyanobacteria were dominated by the [alpha]-Proteobacteria, of which the Rhizobiales group was dominant. Two bacterial ribotypes were associated with only the toxic cyanobacteria, and could be important in PST-remineralization.