NCEAS Project 12300

Investigating responses of riverine habitats and Pacific salmon to climate change

  • Luis Francisco Madrinan

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Postdoctoral Fellow2nd June 2008—31st January 2009Participant List  

Pacific salmon play an important ecological role by interacting with other species in the rivers where they are born, in the ocean where they spend most of their life, and later again in the river where they return to breed. As a result of their very complex life history, salmonid species have been affected by human activities such as harvest, hydropower, hatcheries and habitat destruction. Climate controls fish metabolic rates, influences habitat use, and regulates behavioral responses to a variety of environmental stimuli. For this reason climate change shapes not only fish distribution patterns but fish community composition, because it influences the differential survival and reproduction of species across watersheds. The objective of my work will be to identify salmon populations that are especially resilient or sensitive to climate change across their range from California to Alaska. A state-of-the-art climate model developed at the University of Washington combined with fine and coarse-scale hydrological drainage maps, abundance time-series and other datasets will be used to consider several possible scenarios. In collaboration with other postdoctoral fellows at NCEAS and the University of Washington, we aim to develop a novel approach by increasing our understanding of likely selective or plastic responses due to climate change. We hope to estimate the likelihood of populations reaching a quasi- extinction threshold resulting in range shifts of the different species, as well as to identify management strategies helping to enhance the resilience of populations to likely habitat changes.