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WG1-WG2 Cross-group workshop: Geohistorical perspectives on functional connectivity patterns

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

On May 25th 2023 an in-person workshop on the relevance of geohistorical data to assess long-term changes in Marine Functional Connectivity (MFC) was organised by SEA-UNICORN and the Q-MARE working-goup of PAGES as a side event of the international symposium Human Impacts on Marine Functional Connectivity (HI-MFC 2023) in Sesimbra (Portugal).

This half-day workshop was led by K. Agiadi and B. Caswell and gathered 20 participants (3 of which joined remotely) from 10 countries, with the final aim of bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scientists to discuss and draft a roadmap towards obtaining and using geohistorical data for studying MFC.

The meeting started with the presentation of historical examples and MFC case studies from documents, oral history, images, museum collections and archaeological records (e.g., shell middens) that can be used to track the pathways, rates and consequences of species movements at decadal to millennial timescales.

The workshop continued with a participatory discussion in groups around three main questions:

1) What geohistorical data could be used to understand MFC?

2) What resources are available for such work?

3) How should these data be analysed and interpreted?

The diversity of data types and resources echoed the multidisciplinarity of the group, and included: fossil material, ranging from individual specimens to assemblages; historical documents; archaeological remains; ancient DNA and geochemical data. These can give information on MFC at various scales, from global to local, and transects of both vertical and horizontal connectivity, as well as information that indirectly controls MFC, such as organismal growth and food-web structure.

Finally, the group identified the main specific archives and resources that are available, publically or not, and noted how to access them. It also identified best methods for analysis, interpretation and identification of fossil, historical and archaeological material to assess MFC in the past.

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