Ecologists predict impact of climate change on vulnerable species

July 14, 2015, University of Toronto
An Ontario freshwater Lake Chub. Of all North American minnows, it is the one with the northernmost distribution. University of Toronto ecologists found its existence threatened by predators whose range of habitats are expanding northward due to climate change. Credit: Don Jackson/University of Toronto

If it seems like you're pulling more bass than trout out of Ontario's lakes this summer, you probably are.

Blame it on the ripple effect of and warming temperatures. Birds migrate earlier, flowers bloom faster, and fish move to newly warmed waters putting local at risk.

To mitigate the trend and support conservation efforts, scientists at the University of Toronto (U of T) are sharing a way to predict which plants or animals may be vulnerable to the arrival of a .

The researchers looked specifically at the impact of several species of bass, fish that prefer and have expanded their range northward over the past 30 years as temperatures have increased. They looked at both historical and recent data for 30 different in more than 1500 lakes throughout Ontario. In most cases, they found bass and smaller fish species did not share the lake for long - the bass wiped out vulnerable fish species in relatively short order, in part by taking a share of the food available and in part by predation.

"We found that prized sportfish, such as Brook trout and the smaller fish that trout eat, are disappearing from lakes where species of Bass have expanded their habitats," said Karen Alofs, a working with ecologist and conservation biologist Donald Jackson in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at U of T, describing a study published this week in Proceeding of the Royal Society B.

If a dominant species can thrive in a warmer environment and wipe out other species, climate change could significantly reduce the diversity of species in our lakes as well. Less diversity could also have economic repercussions for Ontario. According to a 2010 survey of recreational fishing, anglers contributed more than $2 billion to the province's economy.

University of Toronto ecologists perform fish sampling on one of Ontario's many freshwater lakes. The researchers found that sportfish such as Brook trout and the smaller fish that trout eat are disappearing from lakes where species of Bass have expanded their habitats due to climate change. Credit: Don Jackson/University of Toronto

The researchers hope their work will help resource managers and scientists keep a close eye on species that are moving north with climate change over time, and predict their impact on other species so they can concentrate conservation efforts and future research accordingly.

The study uses data from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Royal Ontario Museum, collected through long-term and large-scale monitoring of the province's approximately 250,000 lakes.

"It's important to anticipate how climate change will shape future fish communities, and ultimately fishing opportunities and the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems," said Alofs. "We are just beginning to understand the variety of indirect consequences related to climate change."

The study entitled "The vulnerability of species to range expansions by predators can be predicted using historical species associations and body size" will be published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B on July 15. It was supported by a US National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship to Alofs, a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to Jackson, and a grant from the Invasive Species Centre Partnership Fund.

Explore further: Study points to human impact on evolution of freshwater fish

More information: The vulnerability of species to range expansions by predators can be predicted using historical species associations and body size, rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspb.2015.1211

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9 comments

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JoeBlue
1 / 5 (4) Jul 14, 2015
Has nothing to do with "Climate Change" and everything to do with the faster breeding cycle of the Bass that allows the larger Bass to eat the Brown Trout in the shorter thawed seasons.
Keyto Clearskies
1 / 5 (2) Jul 14, 2015
The professional swindler Mark Goldes swindles the readers of Huffington Post and other sites by making use of false and fraudulent pretenses, involving non-existent make-believe "breakthroughs," to obtain loans from them, which he never repays.

https://fraudcraf...stitute/

Posted to the following HuffPost article by Daniel Marans you can find yet another of Mark Goldes' latest efforts to swindle the readers of Huffington Post, by way of yet another false and fraudulent spam comment advertising his fraudulent sham "AESOP Institute:"

http://www.huffin...280.html

WHY does Huffington Post continue to help the professional swindler Mark Goldes to swindle THEIR OWN READERS, by posting his countless spam comments advertising his fraudulent sham "AESOP Institute?"
mememine69
1 / 5 (4) Jul 14, 2015
OMG this garbage is criminal level exaggeration and lazy copy and paste journalism. How do you clowns sleep at night?
leetennant
5 / 5 (7) Jul 14, 2015
OMG this garbage is criminal level exaggeration and lazy copy and paste journalism. How do you clowns sleep at night?


It doesn't bother your internal irony detector that you copy and paste this comment into every article?
JoeBlue
1 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2015
Has nothing to do with "Climate Change" and everything to do with the faster breeding cycle of the Bass


Hi Joe - how did you arrive at this conclusion? Are you a researcher in this field? I did not notice any reference to studies, or data, or anything scientific. Could you share?


I grew up in the north fishing both in river and on ice. I know fish, Bass have a short spawn cycle and pupate quickly. Trout on the other hand have a longer spawn cycle, require a pupate cycle about a third longer and need fresher and deeper water than Bass.

If you'd spent time in natural instead of pretending to know things, you might know this. It doesn't take a researcher to know the mating cycles of fish FFS. It also doesn't take a specialist to know that the past three summers have been shorter and cooler in those regions.
leetennant
5 / 5 (5) Jul 15, 2015
I'm sorry, Joe but your comments make little sense to me. The article is not about what happens when the Bass get to warmer waters - it's the fact that warming waters are causing them to spread into new areas. That's when their breeding cycle becomes pertinent.

Warming waters caused by climate change is causing them to spread into new areas and they then dominate the local fish populations. This spread of pests is one of the consequences of a warming climate in many areas, including plant life and insects such as mosquitoes.

I'm sorry to point it out, but your denial has led you to deliberately misread the piece.
Vietvet
5 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2015
OMG this garbage is criminal level exaggeration and lazy copy and paste journalism. How do you clowns sleep at night?


It doesn't bother your internal irony detector that you copy and paste this comment into every article?


It's not just at PO, he post the same crap all over the web and has been doing it for a long time.
JoeBlue
1 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2015
I'm sorry, Joe but your comments make little sense to me. The article is not about what happens when the Bass get to warmer waters - it's the fact that warming waters are causing them to spread into new areas. That's when their breeding cycle becomes pertinent.

Warming waters caused by climate change is causing them to spread into new areas and they then dominate the local fish populations. This spread of pests is one of the consequences of a warming climate in many areas, including plant life and insects such as mosquitoes.

I'm sorry to point it out, but your denial has led you to deliberately misread the piece.


Warming waters with shorter summers and deeper colder winters....

Drink that kool-aid deeply.
leetennant
5 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2015
Alternatively: you didn't misinterpret the article - you didn't read it at all. You might find it helps.

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