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Huffer D.,Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute | Chappell D.,University of Sydney
Crime, Law and Social Change | Year: 2014

This paper represents an exploratory study of what is known about the current global trade in human remains, and in particular, specimens from archaeological or ethnographic contexts, regardless of which source countries they derive from and where they are destined. The paper is in four parts. In Part 1, we explain how the analysis of human remains forms an important component of archaeological research, and why looting activity at burial sites prejudice this research. In Part 2 we review the existing and relevant archaeological, ethnographic and criminological literature on the subject while in Part 3 we describe our own research into the online trade in human remains, both licit and illicit. To assess the current global prevalence and distribution of public and private dealers in human remains, keyword searches on common search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), and online sites like eBay and Amazon were conducted. In Part 4 we draw some conclusions about our research and point in particular to various policy and law reform issues which require further consideration and study. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Vaslet A.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | France C.,Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute | Baldwin C.C.,Smithsonian Institution | Feller I.C.,Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Neotropical Ichthyology | Year: 2012

Foraging habitats of juveniles of the Mayan cichlid, Cichlasoma urophthalmus (Günther, 1862), were investigated in two mangrove ponds located in Twin Cays offshore islet in Belize: Sink Hole pond (SH) and Hidden Lake pond (HL). Sink Hole pond is a semiclosed body of water, whereas Hidden Lake pond is connected by a channel to adjacent seagrass beds that surround the islet. Gut contents of 21 juvenile C. urophthalmus (9.8-13.2 cm total length) were analyzed, and five prey taxa were identified. In both mangrove ponds, C. urophthalmus were opportunistic carnivores and consumed primarily crustaceans. Plant material and detritus present in gut contents were most likely ingested incidentally when the fish foraged on small invertebrates. Carbon isotopic values of fish specimens from the two ponds were similar (mean ± SD of -19.2 ± 0.4± in SH and -19.4 ± 0.4± in HL), and were close to those of mangrove prey (mean ± SD = -20.2 ± 1.5±), suggesting that this fish species forages in this habitat. Mixing models showed a higher contribution of mangrove food sources to the fish diet than seagrass food sources. This study reveals that young Mayan cichlids, inhabiting two Belize mangrove ponds, are generalists and opportunistic carnivores that forage on mangrove food sources and do not appear to move to adjacent seagrass beds to complement their diets. Understanding trophic linkages between aquatic consumers and food resources may contribute to better management of threatened coastal ecosystems. © 2012 Sociedade Brasileira de Ictiologia.

Vaslet A.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Phillips D.L.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | France C.,Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute | Feller I.C.,Smithsonian Environmental Research Center | Baldwin C.C.,Smithsonian Institution
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2012

In the western Atlantic region, the contribution of mangrove food sources to fish diets has been considered of more limited importance than previously expected due to the proximity of mangroves to adjacent potential food sources such as those in seagrass beds. To investigate the influence of different types of mangrove habitats on the relative contribution of mangrove and seagrass food sources in fish diets, four mangrove habitats adjacent to seagrass beds were studied in Florida and Belize using gut-contents and stable-isotope analyses: mangrove fringe forests, basin mangrove, mangrove ponds and overwash mangrove islets. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope compositions of 41 fish taxa and an array of potential primary (microphytobenthos, litter, seagrass leaves and their epiphytes, algae, plankton) and secondary (benthic invertebrates) prey were analyzed with SIAR mixing models to examine food source contributions in fish diets relative to habitat type. In all study sites, δ 13C values of mangrove prey were significantly depleted relative to those from seagrass beds, allowing stable isotopes to provide reliable insights about origins of fish food. Seagrass prey located near basin mangroves in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL, Florida) had more negative δ 13C signatures than seagrass prey adjacent to fringing mangroves of the Florida Keys, suggesting that seagrass from the IRL incorporated dissolved inorganic carbon from mangroves. Contributions of mangrove and seagrass prey to fish diets were influenced by type of mangrove habitat and fish residency status. Resident species significantly relied on mangrove prey, whereas only four transients foraged in mangroves. Most transient fishes occurring in basin and fringing mangroves actively foraged in nearby seagrass beds, thus reinforcing the limited role of mangroves as fish foraging habitat for transient species. However, a shift in fish diet was observed for transient species from mangrove ponds, in which they relied on mangrove prey. In overwash mangroves (Belize), the enriched carbon signatures of fishes and the generally higher contributions of seagrass prey to fish diets suggest that fishes derived most of their food from seagrass beds. This trend was particularly highlighted for juvenile reef fishes that shelter in mangroves but forage in nearby seagrass beds. These findings emphasize the importance of considering fish ecology (residency and life status) and type of mangrove habitat when assessing the contribution of mangrove prey to fish food webs in the western Atlantic region. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Vaslet A.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | France C.,Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute | Phillips D.L.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Feller I.C.,Smithsonian Environmental Research Center | Baldwin C.C.,Smithsonian Institution
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2011

The feeding habits and habitats of the speckled worm eel Myrophis punctatus were studied on the mangrove edge of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL, Florida) using gut-content and stable-isotope analyses of carbon (δ 13C) and nitrogen (δ 15N). Four taxa were identified through analyses of gut contents, and the index of relative importance suggested that amphipods, microphytobenthos and annelids are the most important food sources in the fish's diet. To assess the feeding habits of the fish after their recruitment to the IRL, these food sources were collected from mangroves and nearby seagrass beds for isotope analyses. Stable isotopes constituted a powerful tool for discriminating fish prey items from mangroves (mean ±s.d.δ 13C = -20·5 ± 0·6‰) and those from seagrass beds (mean ±s.d.δ 13C = -16·9 ± 0·6‰), thus providing good evidence of food source origins. The 56 M. punctatus collected [10·0 < total length (L T) < 16·2 cm] had average isotopic signatures of δ 13C = -16·7 ± 0·2‰ and δ 15N = 8·2 ± 0·1‰. A significant depletion in 13C was observed for larger juveniles (15·0 < L T < 16·2 cm), suggesting that they found a portion of their food in mangroves. Estimation of the trophic level from stable isotopes (T Liso) was similar among different size groups of juvenile fish (T Liso = 3·2-3·5); therefore, M. punctatus was considered a secondary consumer, which is consistent with its zoobenthic diet. The concentration-dependent mixing Stable Isotope Analysis in R (SIAR) model revealed the importance of food sources from seagrass beds as carbon sources for all the fish collected, with a significant increase in mangrove prey contributions, such as annelids, in the diet of larger juveniles. This study highlights the importance of seagrass beds as feeding habitats for juveniles of M. punctatus after their recruitment to coastal waters. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology © 2011 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

France C.A.M.,Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute | Owsley D.W.,Smithsonian Institution | Hayek L.A.C.,Smithsonian Institution
Journal of Archaeological Science | Year: 2014

Using stable isotopes to gain insight into individual life histories is a valuable tool for unidentified or incomplete remains lacking historic records. This study analyzed stable carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopes from bones and teeth of 18th-19th century North Americans of known ancestry, social class, and region of origin in an effort to discern qualitative patterns and create a quantitative predictive model of demographic information. The δ13Ccollagen, δ13Cstructural carbonate, and δ18Ostructural carbonate values provide the most overall information for detecting demographic differences, with δ15Ncollagen and δ18Ophosphate to a lesser degree. Region of origin was the most predictable demographic factor with 82% correct classifications based on a two-variable model using δ13Ccollagen and δ18Ometeoric water calculated from δ18Ostructural carbonate, which reflects the influence of dominant local vegetation types and local drinking water. Ancestry was correctly identified in 68% of cases using δ13Ccollagen. Social class was less predictable with correct identification in 60% of cases based on δ13C, δ15N, and δ18O values where the upper class was most distinguishable. Isotope patterns observed in ancestry and social class groups are linked to cultural food preferences and food availability. Certain sample sites, such as military burials and urban cemeteries, show a greater range of isotope values suggesting a variety of individual regional origins and cultural backgrounds. Burials of extreme upper or lower class individuals show greater isotopic homogeneity suggesting reliance on localized food sources or cultural preferences for particular dietary choices. © 2013.

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