Climate Change and Aquatic Ecosystems

Science Center Objects

USGS scientists quantify and describe functional relationships among aquatic species and habitats to describe aquatic community structure, function, adaptation, and sustainability. Research is conducted that links biology, population genetic diversity, and organism health for fish, native mussels, and other aquatic organisms in relation to their habitat requirements.

Learn more about our research by visiting the web pages below.

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Climate Change and Trout

Science Center: Fort Collins Science Center

Cold-water fishes like trout, salmon, and charr are especially vulnerable to shifting conditions related to climate change; for example, warmer temperatures and more variable hydroclimate.

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Modeling the Response of Imperiled Freshwater Mussels to Anthropogenically Induced Changes in Water Temperature, Habitat, and Flow in Streams of the Southeastern and Central United States

Science Center: Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center

Freshwater mussels are in serious global decline and urgently need protection and conservation.  Declines in the abundance and diversity of North American mussels have been attributed to a wide array of human activities that cause pollution, water-quality degradation, and habitat destruction.

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Forecasting Climate Change Impacts on Fish Production

Science Center: Great Lakes Science Center

Great Lakes fishery managers have little information regarding how proposed climate change arising from rising greenhouse gas emissions will affect the management and conservation of fish populations (including those of high recreational and commercial value). To that end, our work aims to provide knowledge to aid managers in their planning and anticipation of coming changes.

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LSC Living Stream Laboratory (video)

Science Center: Leetown Science Center

At this lab we're interested in stream ecology and how fish respond to land use and climate change. This experimental stream lets us test these questions in new ways. 

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Fisheries Climate Change Projects

Science Center: Alaska Science Center

 The goal of our current research effort is to improve our understanding of the biocomplexity, resilience, and function of aquatic ecosystems to better inform future predictions of fish and aquatic ecosystems as they respond to a changing environment.

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Climate change links fate of glaciers and rare alpine stream invertebrates in Glacier National Park

Science Center: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)

The extensive loss of glaciers in Glacier National Park (GNP) is iconic of the global impacts of climate warming in mountain ecosystems. However, little is known about how climate change may threaten alpine stream species, especially invertebrates, persisting below disappearing snow and ice masses in GNP. 

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Developing stream temperature networks for the Greater Yellowstone to aid in managing aquatic resources under a changing climate

Science Center: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)

Understanding the effects of anticipated changes in climate on aquatic resources and means for managing these resources will ultimately require accurate linkages between empirical data and regional climatic patterns. 

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Evaluating the linkages between regional climate patterns, local climate data, and native Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri) and non-native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) growth, survival, and life-history expressions

Science Center: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)

Beyond large-scale climate models, it is becoming increasingly important to quantify how regional climate patterns link with in situ stream temperatures and hydrologic regimes and concomitantly, fish behavior, growth, and survival. Here, we are using comprehensive mark-recapture techniques to evaluate how changing climatic conditions are likely to influence native westslope cutthroat trout and non-native brook trout. 

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Using the past as a prelude to the future to assess climate effects on native trout across the United States

Science Center: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)

Future climate change is expected to dramatically alter the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems that support salmonid species. The response of salmonids to climate change will vary through space and time and manifest in both known and currently unknown ways. 

 

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