An Environmental History of the Gannets of the Bass
Speaker: Christopher Smout (Historiographer Royal in Scotland)
Environmental history looks both at what a natural resource has meant to human society and what human exploitation has done to the resource. The Bass gannets have a documentary record that goes back to before 1500, involving a degree of scientific observation almost from the start. In the last 500 years they have been variously exploited for their fat, feathers and flesh, for the fun of killing them and for the fun of observing them.Mostly this has been extremely bad for the colony, and an attempt is made to estimate its size back to the sixteenth century. This is a paper that will provide a rest from strict modelling!