Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011WI267B

Climate Change Impacts on Stream Temperature and Flow: Consequences for Great Lakes Fish Migrations

Institute: Wisconsin
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $59,030 Total Non-Federal Funds: $60,898

Principal Investigators: Peter McIntyre

Abstract: The proposed project seeks to generate the first broad-scale assessment of how climate change has altered fish migrations in Great Lakes tributaries of Wisconsin, thereby highlighting the ecological consequences of shifts in stream temperatures and flow. Fish migrations are triggered by seasonal shifts in stream conditions, and climate change has resulted in earlier spring migrations in many parts of the world. Changes in the timing of Great Lakes fish migrations remain undocumented, but are likely to occur. This project will synthesize historical data on the timing of migrations, use a citizen monitoring network to document current migrations and sensitivity to environmental cues, and predict future changes in fish migrations based on existing hydrological models of stream flow and temperature under various climate change scenarios. Shifts in the timing of migrations are expected to have serious implications at the species, community, and ecosystem levels. The abiotic-biotic coupling underlying fish migrations also offers an ideal opportunity for outreach that leverages broad public interest in fish and fisheries. Thus, this project is uniquely suited to addressing needs for both scientific and public understanding of the ecological impacts of shifts in water temperature and flow driven by climate change.