Brook Trout Population Responses to Climate Variation Across the Southeast USA

Science Center Objects

Brook trout are the only native fish from the salmon family in the southeastern United States. Despite their recreational and cultural significance, human activities, such as habitat degradation and introduction of non-native species, have led to serious declines of brook trout populations in the region. Stream temperature and flow alterations from climate change are projected to impact this co...

Brook trout are the only native fish from the salmon family in the southeastern United States. Despite their recreational and cultural significance, human activities, such as habitat degradation and introduction of non-native species, have led to serious declines of brook trout populations in the region. Stream temperature and flow alterations from climate change are projected to impact this cold-water species even further.



Recent studies show that there is much site-to-site variation in how climate affects stream temperature and flow. Therefore, vulnerability of local trout populations to climate change also varies. Understanding local variation in climate responses across the region is critical to maintaining brook trout populations for current and future generations.



The project team, consisting of scientists and fisheries managers, will use long term (longer than 5 years) trout population data and stream temperature data from sites throughout the region to investigate why climate variation affects local trout populations differently. They will also identify key environmental factors that make trout populations more resilient to climate change. By working closely with fisheries managers, outcomes of this study will directly result in management actions such as transfer of fish to different locations, habitat restoration, and non-native trout removal.