Climate Change, Marine Systems and Community Health in the Gulf of Alaska: Bridging Gaps Between the North and South and the Past and Future
Maribeth Murray, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, email@example.com, http://www.uaf.edu/anthro/FacultyPages/MSM.html
S. Craig Gerlach, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Lawrence Duffy, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Amy Hirons, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Risk assessments, and assessments of individual and community health in the contemporary setting are often undertaken with, at best, an obligatory nod to the importance of the historical dimension. In this paper we discuss subsistence choices and health at the community level in the face of changes in the marine food web, mercury bioaccumulation, and climate change. We focus on the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), a region that is linked culturally and socially to the more typically arctic parts of Alaska, and a region whose fisheries are of great economic significance to Alaska, the rest of the United States, and to the global market. We derive a long-term frame of reference for understanding the impacts of climate change on social and economic systems from research in archaeology, human ecology, and ecotoxicology and discuss why this framework is essential, in combination with future social impact and risk assessment analysis, for understanding and evaluating current conditions in Gulf of Alaska communities for whom consumption of marine resources is still important, nutritionally culturally, and economically.