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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Projected Impacts of Climate Change on Stream Salmonids With Implications For Resilience-Based Management in Michigan

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AUTHORS: Andrew K. Carlson*, Michigan State University, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; William W. Taylor, Michigan State University, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Troy G. Zorn, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Marquette Fisheries Research Station; Dana M. Infante, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

ABSTRACT: The sustainability of freshwater fisheries is increasingly affected by modifications to terrestrial and aquatic environments that influence water quality, quantity, and ecosystem productivity. Drivers of ecological change include warming air temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, instream habitat alteration, and invasive species. Amidst these alterations, there is a need for future management approaches that promote ecosystem resilience: the capacity of a system to absorb changes amidst disturbances without significant alterations to its structure or function. The state of Michigan, USA, contains highly valuable stream salmonid fisheries that are susceptible to impending ecological alterations driven by climate change. As such, there is need for a holistic, science-based fisheries management plan to enhance stream ecosystem resilience. The state of Michigan is responding to imminent ecological changes by designing a comprehensive management plan for stream brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, brown trout Salmo trutta, and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss populations. To assist in developing such a plan, we used generalized and stream-specific regression models to forecast salmonid thermal habitat suitability in Michigan streams from 2006–2056 under different predicted climate change scenarios. Streams spanned a hydrological gradient from surface runoff to groundwater dominance and included all Michigan management zones (i.e., Upper Peninsula, northern Lower Peninsula, southern Lower Peninsula). Salmonid thermal habitat degradation, measured by the impact of temperature on growth (i.e., reduced or no growth) in July, was most common in surface runoff-dominated streams from 2012–2036, the period of greatest thermal warming. Thermal habitat degradation occurred least frequently in rainbow trout streams as adults and juveniles of this species have a wider temperature range (12.0–22.5°C) under which growth persists compared to brook charr (11.0–20.5°C) and brown trout (12.0–20.0°C). Throughout Michigan, maximum stream warming was predicted to be > 4°C in surface runoff-dominated systems, compared to < 2°C in groundwater-dominated systems, the latter of which typically had optimal growing conditions from 2006–2056 for all salmonid species investigated. Our results provide tools for scientists, managers, policy makers, and public stakeholders to better understand the causes of stream warming and consequences for valuable salmonid populations in Michigan. Fisheries professionals can use our findings to implement resilience-based management strategies and conserve productive salmonid fisheries amidst global change.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Grandview A