This presentation is part of the Young Scientist Webinar Series, hosted by the Cape Perpetua Collaborative featuring graduate students and postdocs sharing their ocean research.

When Euro-American explorers and traders made contact with Indigenous communities on the Northwest Coast in the 1700s, they encountered and over-exploited marine mammal resources. Some marine mammal populations rebounded under state and federal laws protecting them from further exploitation, while others, like the locally extinct Oregon sea otter, never recovered. Sea otters are the focus of recent conservation efforts led by diverse stakeholders, yet little systematic study of these taxa in precontact Oregon has occurred. My work explores ancestral tribal use of sea otters and human-sea otter relationships in Oregon prior to European contact, and also addresses the historical ecology of the Oregon sea otter through ancient DNA analysis of archaeological sea otter remains.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER, Hannah Wellman, Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon

Hannah Wellman recently received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon. Her research interests include past environments, human-animal and human-environment relationships, and ecological sovereignty. She is a rising Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow.


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