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Inland fishes are important to communities worldwide and provide many ecosystem services. However, freshwater fishes are especially vulnerable to climate change. To support climate adaptation for fisheries management across the globe, the USGS Alaska, Missouri, and North Carolina Cooperative Research Units partnered with the National CASC and others to develop an interactive database, FiCli. 

This story was originally published in the Wildlife Management Institute’s Outdoor News Bulletin (June 2020 Edition, Volume 74, Issue 6) and was written by Ralph Tingley, a postdoctoral researcher at the Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Missouri.

Fish respond to climate change in diverse and nuanced ways, challenging practitioners to adapt current conservation and management strategies to changing or anticipated future conditions. However, information on how species may be impacted by climate change and recommended actions are scattered throughout the published literature and are sometimes inaccessible to those who could benefit most from the insight they provide.

Until now, a comprehensive online, public database of how climate change has impacted inland fishes worldwide and how conservation or management practices may address these impacts did not exist. FiCli fills this need, providing access to information that can inform inland fish conservation and adaptation planning in a changing climate.

Ph.D. student, Bonnie Myers re-cementing pools in the Luquillo LTER artificial flumes to fix leaks.
Ph.D. student, Bonnie Myers re-cementing pools in the Luquillo LTER artificial flumes to fix leaks.

The database was developed through a literature review of peer-reviewed publications and includes information on over 1,200 projected and documented climate change impacts on inland fishes. FiCli allows users to query fish families, species, response types, or geographic locations to obtain summary information on inland fish responses to climate change and recommended actions.

A description of the database was recently published in the NatureResearch journal Scientific Data. Through careful review and synthesis, the team has expanded on previous climate change literature reviews conducted in North America and at a world-wide scale.

“We want to facilitate the sharing of knowledge across the scientific community and enhance the ability of managers and the public to understand how to protect lakes and rivers, and the fishes they support, from the effects of climate change. With this database, we believe we have succeeded on both counts,” says Craig Paukert, Unit Leader, USGS Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

The American Fisheries Society funded workshops that led to the FiCli database, with in-kind support from the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center and the Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

The ONB features articles from Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units across the country. Working with key cooperators, including WMI, Units are leading exciting, new, fish and wildlife research projects that we believe our readers will appreciate reading about.

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