Otoliths, also known as ear stones, are small body parts that help fish with hearing and balance. Like tree rings, otoliths form one light and one dark band per year, creating rings. These rings can be measured to understand fish growth. The wider the ring, the greater the growth. In our study, we used otoliths to understand how one fish species—lake trout—responds to rising temperature in the state of Alaska. We found that warmer spring air temperature and earlier lake ice melt were related to faster lake trout growth. This finding is consistent with other studies that link warmer water temperature and earlier lake ice melt to increased plankton in Alaska’s lakes. Together, these findings suggest that climate-driven increases at the bottom of the food web might benefit top predators like lake trout. However, the relationship between warmer temperature and faster growth may not last.
|Title||Fish ear stones offer climate change clues in Alaska's lakes|
|Authors||Krista K. Bartz, Vanessa R. von Biela, Bryan A. Black, Daniel B. Young, Peter van der Sleen, Christian E. Zimmerman|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Frontiers for Young Minds|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Alaska Science Center Water|