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Holocene Extinctions$
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Samuel T. Turvey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199535095

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199535095.001.0001

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Holocene extinctions in the sea

Holocene extinctions in the sea

(p.129) CHAPTER 6 Holocene extinctions in the sea
Holocene Extinctions

Nicholas K. Dulvy

John K. Pinnegar

John D. Reynolds

Oxford University Press

Few Holocene marine species extinctions have been recorded, and these have been of range-restricted species, mainly mammals and birds, over the past 300 years. However, marine extinctions may be more widespread than is currently appreciated, because it is difficult to observe the last individuals of a marine species, and because of a fallacious but widespread perception that marine organisms cannot be driven to extinction. Today's extensive overexploitation of global fisheries has a historical and prehistoric precedent in archaeological evidence for the local collapse of many fisheries and shellfish beds, and regional extinction of marine populations. The observed human capacity for causing rapid and widespread terrestrial extinctions combined with the rapidly increasing scale of human impact on the sea forewarn of an impending marine extinction event. The scale of this may be the equivalent of concatenating both of the terrestrial late Quaternary extinction waves into a much shorter timeframe.

Keywords:   fisheries, habitat loss, marine megafauna, overexploitation, whaling

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