WellBeing News


An earlier issue of WellBeing News explored the shifting historical baselines phenomenon. This phenomenon illustrates the tendency of ecologists to use recent wildlife population numbers as the baseline for their studies, even though the recent wildlife population may be much lower than the population 50 or 100 years earlier. The lack of historical records on specific ecosystems or of lengthy and reliable time-series data contributes to the shifting baselines syndrome. One usually has to find indirect measures to infer what was happening in ecosystems prior to 1950. The Monterey Bay Aquarium established the Ocean Memory Laboratory in 2018 as an antidote to this data lack and has been promoting the search for historical markers of ocean ecology and health. The Laboratory is the brainchild of the aquarium science director, Dr. Kyle van Houtan who lists historical ecology as one of his research interests.