Warm-Water Fishes in a Warming World: Impacts of Climate Change on Populations, Distributions, and Habitat

Freshwater systems are considered to be highly vulnerable to direct and indirect impacts of climate change. Efforts to assess climate change impacts in fisheries have largely targeted cold water species that are unable to tolerate warm water temperatures. Warm-water fishes are generally hypothesized to undergo range expansion, however these predictions are often based solely on thermal tolerances. Both thermal and hydrologic regimes are projected to shift across the landscape, producing additional changes in energy, sediment, and chemical inputs into freshwater systems. Temperature and precipitation patterns are also primary factors in land-use decisions, particularly in agricultural watersheds, further altering energy and sediment budgets.  Successful conservation, restoration and management of warm-water fishes and their habitat will require more thorough knowledge of how climate change is altering ecosystem processes that support physical habitat. Further, it is becoming increasingly important to develop reliable conservation planning tools that can be used to evaluate tradeoffs of management and conservation strategies under future scenarios of environmental change. The goal of this symposium is to bring together those interested and concerned about the impacts of climate change on freshwater systems, with a focus on warm-water fishes and their habitats, to explore the latest information regarding climate impacts, modeling tools, and management implications. Presentations will explore current and projected climate-related changes to fish populations, distributions, and habitat as well as how to incorporate this knowledge into the decision-making process. This symposium will allow fisheries professionals to familiarize themselves with climate projections, modeling concepts, and various tools to manage and conserve species and habitat with shifting baselines.
Nick Sievert
Kristen Bouska
Joanna Whittier, Nicholas Sievert and Craig P. Paukert
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