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Moriaki Yasuhara, Gene Hunt, Denise Breitburg, Akira Tsujimoto and Kota Katsuki Human-induced marine ecological degradation: micropaleontological perspectives Ecology and Evolution 2

Version of Record online: 15 NOV 2012 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.425

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We analyzed published microfossil records from 150 studies and reinterpreted them from an ecological degradation perspective. Our results indicated that: (1) ecological degradation in marine systems began significantly earlier in Europe and North America (~1800s) compared with Asia (post-1900) due to earlier industrialization in European and North American countries, (2) ecological degradation accelerated globally in the late 20th century due to post-World War II economic growth, (3) recovery from the degraded state in late 20th century following various restoration efforts and environmental regulations occurred only in limited localities. Microfossils enable reconstruction of the ecological history of the past 102–103 years or even more, and, in conjunction with statistical modeling approach using independent proxy records of climate and human-induced environmental changes, future research will enable workers to address Shifting Baseline Syndrome and separate anthropogenic impact from background natural variability.

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