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Historical Ecology

Since the earliest humans settled in Central America, there has been a profound impact on the land and the oceans of the region. Trash heaps, or middens, provide a rich and unique record of the animals harvested from forests and seas, and reveal how people altered the environment and even the evolution of wild animal species over time. Pioneering work with microfossils, such as phytoliths, starch grains and pollen, gives STRI researchers an unrivalled opportunity to reconstruct the remarkable process of crop domestication. Cores extracted from the sea floor uncover the state of Caribbean coral reefs over millennia, pinpointing when they began to deteriorate and providing guidelines for reef conservation. 

Center for Tropical Paleoecology 
and Archaeology

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