MEPS prepress abstract  -  DOI:

From coral reefs to whale teeth: estimating mortality from natural accumulations of skeletal materials

Vladimir Laptikhovsky*, Christopher Barrett, Philip Hollyman


ABSTRACT: Estimation of natural and anthropogenic (fishing, hunting) mortality is the key problem in studies of population dynamics. Numerous theoretical approaches were developed in environmental sciences to find a solution based on information that could be obtained from live representatives of populations of interest. The paper provides a review of alternative methods used by marine biologists, palaeontologists and zoo-archaeologists to estimate these parameters from age-registering structures of the different taxa (corals, molluscs, fishes and mammals) collected in thanatocoenoses and containing information about the exact individual age-at-death. Not all approaches and techniques are transferrable from one field to another as they were elaborated for organisms with different morphologies and ecologies, but cross-fertilisation of ideas presented in this review might provide a new insight into studies related to population dynamics.