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Diversity and resilience of sea gardens across the Pacific Ocean

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.R.M.
Date created
In a time of rapid global environmental change, it is important to identify the practices that promote resilient social-ecological systems. Indigenous systems of stewardship offer insight into social-ecological resilience given that they reflect long-term use and adaptation over periods of environmental change. To gain insight onto what practices can support resilient food systems, we analyzed twenty-one Indigenous mariculture innovations from around the Pacific Ocean. We examined the extent to which latitudinal patterns in species diversity influence the diversity of species harvested within these systems. We also assessed the diversity of life history traits, trophic groups, modes of reproduction, migration strategies, and population growth strategies that exist among the species cultured within these innovations and the diversity of management strategies used to maintain them. Lastly, we compared these social-ecological attributes of mariculture diversity to contemporary commercial aquaculture practices. We found that globally, Indigenous mariculture systems cultivate a diversity of species with a range of ecological and life history traits, unlike contemporary commercial industrial mariculture systems which rely on fewer species and are thus less biologically diverse. We also found that the diversity of species cultivated across the Pacific Ocean was not driven by a latitudinal gradient in species diversity suggesting that these biodiverse food systems are not incidental, but rather are the result of intentional stewardship rooted in a diversity of management practices informed by observations and experimentation and honed over many generations. Our research demonstrates the importance of biodiversity in resilient social-ecological systems, and that building resilient and biodiverse coastal food systems must include the lived knowledge and leadership of Indigenous People.
40 pages.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Salomon, Anne
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