Data from: Black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) population structure shifts through deep time: Management implications for southern California's northern Channel Islands
Haas, Hannah et al. (2019), Data from: Black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) population structure shifts through deep time: Management implications for southern California's northern Channel Islands, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8m3t2p2
For over 10,000 years, black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) were an important resource in southern California, first for coastal Native Americans, then beginning in the nineteenth century, as one of the state's first commercial shellfisheries. By 1993, after years of heavy fishing, rising sea surface temperatures (SST), and the spread of withering syndrome (WS), black abalone populations declined dramatically, resulting in the closure of the Alta California fishery. After nearly 25 years of management and recovery efforts, black abalone are showing signs of ecological rebound along some Channel Island shorelines. These include the presence of juvenile abalone and increasing densities, largely from data collected by Channel Islands National Park (CINP) monitoring efforts that began in 1985.
In an effort to apply deeper historical perspectives to modern fisheries management and restoration, we analyzed black abalone size data from San Miguel Island at prehistoric and historical archeological sites spanning the last 10,000 years and compared these populations to those described by CINP biologists between 1985 and 2013.
We found a statistically significant relationship between SST and black abalone size distributions during the ancient record, along with dramatic shifts in population size structure toward larger individuals between the nineteenth century and modern periods. A pattern of larger mean black abalone sizes was identified during warm SSTs, when compared against intervals of cooler SSTs.
Synthesis and applications. Our study provides a deep historical perspective of abalone population size distributions, patterns within these distributions through time, and parallels to modern abalone populations. Our results may help managers determine whether the current (and future) size and age structure of intertidal black abalone populations around the northern Channel Islands are “natural” and healthy, measured against the 10,000 year history of black abalone fishing in southern California.