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People and Fish in Fiji: an ethnobiological study of a coral reef ecosystem Open Access


Other title
Astrolabe Reef
coral reef fish categories
Kadavu fish names
Kadavu sea cucumber names
cultural keystone species
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Gordon, Andrew Ross
Supervisor and department
Forth, Gregory (Anthropology)
Examining committee member and department
Samson, Jane (History and Classics)
Lowrey, Kathleen (Anthropology)
Department of Anthropology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
People are active participants in coral reef ecosystems. This ethnobiology study considers and contrasts folkbiological knowledge of people living in two groups of artisanal fishing villages in Kadavu Province, Fiji. The high level of biological diversity on the Astrolabe Reef provides insights into folk categorization and classification methods that include colour, shape, size, physical features, and habits of certain reef fish and marine animals. Surveying large numbers of experts and novices on defined groups of creatures yields more depth and range of responses allowing higher confidence levels in response accuracy. A comparison of the data with Berlin’s (1992) proposed principles yields mixed results. Sea cucumbers have high ecological salience and their identification requires attention to the affect of two centuries of trade on Fijian society. Effective ethnobiological research provides productive options to contribute to coral reef sustainability programs with long term benefits for local people and marine life. Key words: Kadavu, naming and classification of fish, coral reef ethnobiology.
License granted by Andrew Ross Gordon ( on 2010-05-21T23:18:13Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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