Projected impacts of climate change on stream salmonids with implications for resilience-based conservation in Michigan, USA

Andrew K. Carlson, William W. Taylor, Kelsey M. Schlee, Troy G. Zorn, Dana M. Infante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The sustainability of freshwater fisheries is increasingly affected by climate warming, habitat alteration, invasive species and other drivers of global change. The State of Michigan, USA, contains ecologically, socioeconomically valuable coldwater stream salmonid fisheries that are highly susceptible to these ecological alterations. Thus, there is a need for future management approaches that promote resilient stream ecosystems that absorb change amidst disturbances. Fisheries professionals in Michigan are responding to this need by designing a comprehensive management plan for stream brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) populations. To assist in developing such a plan, we used stream‐specific regression models to forecast thermal habitat suitability in streams throughout Michigan from 2006 to 2056 under different predicted climate change scenarios. As baseflow index (i.e., relative groundwater input) increased, stream thermal sensitivity (i.e., relative susceptibility to temperature change) decreased. Thus, the magnitude of temperature warming and frequency of thermal habitat degradation were lowest in streams with the highest baseflow indices. Thermal habitats were most suitable in rainbow trout streams as this species has a wider temperature range for growth (12.0–22.5 °C) compared to brook charr (11.0–20.5 °C) and brown trout (12.0–20.0 °C). Our study promotes resilience‐based salmonid management by providing a methodology for stream temperature and thermal habitat suitability prediction. Fisheries professionals can use this approach to protect coldwater habitats and drivers of stream cooling and ultimately conserve resilient salmonid populations amidst global change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology of Freshwater Fish
Volume26
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)190-204
Number of pages15
ISSN0906-6691
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • 112 Statistics and probability

Cite this

Carlson, Andrew K. ; Taylor, William W. ; Schlee, Kelsey M. ; Zorn, Troy G. ; Infante, Dana M. . / Projected impacts of climate change on stream salmonids with implications for resilience-based conservation in Michigan, USA. In: Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 2015 ; Vol. 26, No. 2. pp. 190-204.
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Projected impacts of climate change on stream salmonids with implications for resilience-based conservation in Michigan, USA. / Carlson, Andrew K. ; Taylor, William W.; Schlee, Kelsey M. ; Zorn, Troy G.; Infante, Dana M. .

In: Ecology of Freshwater Fish, Vol. 26, No. 2, 14.12.2015, p. 190-204.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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T1 - Projected impacts of climate change on stream salmonids with implications for resilience-based conservation in Michigan, USA

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AU - Infante, Dana M.

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N2 - The sustainability of freshwater fisheries is increasingly affected by climate warming, habitat alteration, invasive species and other drivers of global change. The State of Michigan, USA, contains ecologically, socioeconomically valuable coldwater stream salmonid fisheries that are highly susceptible to these ecological alterations. Thus, there is a need for future management approaches that promote resilient stream ecosystems that absorb change amidst disturbances. Fisheries professionals in Michigan are responding to this need by designing a comprehensive management plan for stream brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) populations. To assist in developing such a plan, we used stream‐specific regression models to forecast thermal habitat suitability in streams throughout Michigan from 2006 to 2056 under different predicted climate change scenarios. As baseflow index (i.e., relative groundwater input) increased, stream thermal sensitivity (i.e., relative susceptibility to temperature change) decreased. Thus, the magnitude of temperature warming and frequency of thermal habitat degradation were lowest in streams with the highest baseflow indices. Thermal habitats were most suitable in rainbow trout streams as this species has a wider temperature range for growth (12.0–22.5 °C) compared to brook charr (11.0–20.5 °C) and brown trout (12.0–20.0 °C). Our study promotes resilience‐based salmonid management by providing a methodology for stream temperature and thermal habitat suitability prediction. Fisheries professionals can use this approach to protect coldwater habitats and drivers of stream cooling and ultimately conserve resilient salmonid populations amidst global change.

AB - The sustainability of freshwater fisheries is increasingly affected by climate warming, habitat alteration, invasive species and other drivers of global change. The State of Michigan, USA, contains ecologically, socioeconomically valuable coldwater stream salmonid fisheries that are highly susceptible to these ecological alterations. Thus, there is a need for future management approaches that promote resilient stream ecosystems that absorb change amidst disturbances. Fisheries professionals in Michigan are responding to this need by designing a comprehensive management plan for stream brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) populations. To assist in developing such a plan, we used stream‐specific regression models to forecast thermal habitat suitability in streams throughout Michigan from 2006 to 2056 under different predicted climate change scenarios. As baseflow index (i.e., relative groundwater input) increased, stream thermal sensitivity (i.e., relative susceptibility to temperature change) decreased. Thus, the magnitude of temperature warming and frequency of thermal habitat degradation were lowest in streams with the highest baseflow indices. Thermal habitats were most suitable in rainbow trout streams as this species has a wider temperature range for growth (12.0–22.5 °C) compared to brook charr (11.0–20.5 °C) and brown trout (12.0–20.0 °C). Our study promotes resilience‐based salmonid management by providing a methodology for stream temperature and thermal habitat suitability prediction. Fisheries professionals can use this approach to protect coldwater habitats and drivers of stream cooling and ultimately conserve resilient salmonid populations amidst global change.

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