Glaciers make way for new stream habitat in Alaska

October 18, 2011

( -- Researchers from the University of Birmingham and other UK universities describe the evolution and assembly of a stream ecosystem in South East Alaska in new de-glaciated terrain, from early insect and crustacean invaders to the arrival of migrating salmon from the ocean, in a paper published in the journal Ecology this month (October).

The scientists started sampling Stonefly Creek in the early 1990s when a remnant of the lost Plateau Glacier retreated to reveal the creek's lower reaches. Together with another stream, Wolf Point Creek, this study represents the most complete and longest-running catalogue of stream development.

Now originating in a clearwater lake, Stonefly Creek tumbles over falls, flows through a second turbid lake fed by remnant ice, and then receives inputs from kettle lakes and wetlands before discharging into the fjord of Wachusett Inlet.

This complex geomorphology, the researchers found, buffers the young stream from abrupt changes in water level and provides a diversity of habitats that are colonized by a variety of species.

Within ten years they found that pink salmon and Dolly Varden char had established spawning grounds in the stream followed by red and silver salmon. Twenty seven species of microscrustacea have also rapidly colonized with no obvious mechanism of reaching the stream.

Professor Alexander Milner, lead investigator from the University of Birmingham’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: ‘Shrinking glaciers are changing large expanses of northerly coastlines. The speed and pattern of colonization across Stonefly Creek's watershed will aid our understanding of watershed restoration and conservation of biodiversity in a changing climate.

‘Salmon stocks are under threat and decline in many regions of the world due to human activities. The creation of these new runs has important potential to help balance these losses.’

Explore further: Rare alpine insect may disappear with glaciers

More information: The research is published in ‘Ecology’, the publication of the Ecological Society of America: Evolution of a stream ecosystem in recently deglaciated terrain.

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1 / 5 (4) Oct 18, 2011
Thanks for this report on an article published in the journal Ecology..

Ecologists and geologists probably appreciate that Earth's climate changes and life evolves because Earth's heat source - the Sun - is unsteady [1-4]

1. P. D. Jose, Suns motion and sunspots, Astronomical Journal 70, 193-200 (1965).

2. Peter Toth, "Is the Sun a pulsar?" Nature 270, 159-160 (Nov 1977)

3. Carl A. Rouse, "Evidence for a small, high-Z, iron-like solar core,"Astronomy and Astrophysics 149, 65-72 (August 1985)


4. "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate",
Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002)

World leaders and other advocates of AGW (human-induced climate change) generally ignore findings that suggest Big Brother is powerless over nature.

O. Manuel

1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 18, 2011
Imagine that! Life replaces the ice.
Why do AGWites prefer ice?
3 / 5 (2) Oct 19, 2011
But, but, bbbuuuttttt - everyone knows Salmon ONLY return to the beds they were spawned in to do their own spawning!! And glacier loss can ONLY be negative, bad, terrible, horrible, disastrous - NEVER ANY good consequences!! /sarc

Good on the researchers who produced this article.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2011
"Imagine that! Life replaces the ice." - RyggTard

Until the water runs out.

With the glacier gone, what is going to supply the river water Tard Boy?

Your Libertarian/Randite Stupidity?

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