Climate Science Champions, Season 1: Vanessa von Biela, Research Fish Biologist
Research Fish Biologist Vanessa von Biela investigates how heatwaves and other climate-driven stressors may affect Alaska’s spawning Pacific salmon in the future.
Salmon forms the lifeblood for many in Alaska. The state hosts all five Pacific salmon species; Alaskan salmon hold cultural, economic and ecological significance. One of the major climate factors affecting salmon in Alaska is the increasing occurrence of extreme heat events. A record-breaking heatwave and drought in 2019 caused stress and unprecedented mortality in Alaskan salmon, affecting adults on their way to spawning grounds. USGS researchers are trying to understand how heatwaves and other climate-driven stressors will affect Alaska’s spawning Pacific salmon into the future. While an event like the 2019 heatwave was devastating—fish that die before spawning don’t contribute to future generations—salmon in Alaska are resilient.
Video is Public Domain.
Music: “Cut the Corner” by Luwaks, “Siren Screen” by Ooyy, used with permission from Epidemic Sound
Additional media courtesy of Jody Eriksson, Lisa Hupp/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington, Mel Peff via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), Kameron Perensovich via Flickr (CC BY-SA 4.0), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Additional media used with permission from Envato Elements.