ERC-CoG Grant

Long-term coastal adaptation, food security and poverty alleviation in Latin America

The Project

Marine historical
socio-ecology in
South America

TRADITION is an ERC-Consolidator Grant funded research project that, since 2019, has been working to assess the long-term development of small-scale fisheries in South America, and their legacy to present day food security and poverty alleviation.

Our interdisciplinary team is investigating the historical ecology of marine fisheries along the coast of Brazil over the last 5000 years, during major cultural and environmental changes in the region. We are uncovering the socio-ecological trajectories of small-scale fisheries, from the pre-Columbian era, through historical colonization and urbanization, and to the present day in eastern South America.

The traditional knowledge of small-scale fisheries plays a prominent role in current debates and policies concerning sustainable fisheries and biodiversity, yet these fisheries and their actors are historically invisible in most tropical and subtropical regions. A thorough recognition of their socio‐economic and ecological importance requires an understanding of the scale of human interaction with marine environments and resources that transcends modern assessments and most historical records.

In 2017 the United Nations established the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, taking place from 2021 to 2030. The decade has been created to meet the imminent need to expand our understanding of the changes taking place in our oceans, as well as the best ways to preserve and restore sustainable practices. Ocean science has made great progress over the last century, however a long-term perspective of the anthropogenic footprint on oceans is still largely missing.

Once upon a time…
there was an ocean

Marine historical socio-ecology, which incorporates several different disciplines, has emerged in the last two decades to address this knowledge gap. TRADITION is currently assessing the long-term development of small-scale fisheries in Brazil, and their legacy to present day marine ecosystems and food security in the region. We aim to advance the importance of marine historical socio-ecology in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean.

Archaeology, history, environmental studies and citizen knowledge offer unique windows into the past of local traditional knowledge, a key concept to biological and environmental conservation, as well as sustainable development.

We are based in the Department of Prehistory and the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain) and in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York (UK).


Get in touch

To find out more about our research, please get in touch with us. We are always looking for opportunities to establish new collaborations dealing with all aspects of the project.

Contact us