Some Pacific salmon populations are especially at risk from climate change

Some Pacific salmon populations are especially at risk from climate change
Mapping Pacific salmon and steelhead vulnerabilities to climate change. Credit: NOAA Fisheries (2019)

Four population groups of Pacific salmon in California, Oregon, and Idaho are especially vulnerable to climate change, according to a new study in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Lisa Crozier of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and colleagues. The results will be useful for prioritizing protection efforts for salmon populations along the entire west coast of the United States.

Pacific salmon (Onchorhyncus spp.) spend most of their lives in the ocean, but return to the inland waterways of their birth to spawn, with some populations migrating as far inland as central Idaho. The broad range of environments in which salmon dwell make them especially sensitive to . To better understand the vulnerability of Pacific salmon, the authors studied 33 threatened or endangered of Pacific salmon, encompassing from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. For each population group, the authors looked at 20 different attributes in order to assess the group's vulnerability to change. These attributes measured the magnitude of expected change in local environmental conditions, the capacity of the population group to adapt phenotypically to new climatic conditions, and the sensitivity of specific population groups to current environmental conditions.

Four population groups were found to be most at risk: Chinook in California's Central Valley, coho in northern California and Oregon, Chinook in the Columbia and Willamette River basins in Oregon, and sockeye in the Snake River basin of Idaho. All 33 studied population groups were found to be vulnerable to elevations of stream and as well as ocean acidification. However, some population groups were more affected than others by local conditions, such as barriers to migration such as dams.

Crozier adds: "Salmon have always adapted to change, and they have been very successful, otherwise they wouldn't still be here. What we are trying to understand is which populations may need the most help with anticipated future changes in temperature and water availability, and what steps we can take to support them."


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More information: Climate vulnerability assessment for Pacific salmon and steelhead in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. PLoS ONE 14(7): e0217711. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217711
Journal information: PLoS ONE

Citation: Some Pacific salmon populations are especially at risk from climate change (2019, July 24) retrieved 22 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-pacific-salmon-populations-climate.html
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Jul 25, 2019
May I respectfully beg to differ?
All salmon and all other species, including us humans especially, in and/or around all our oceans and "fresh" waters on this entire planet are existentially at risk from climate change and a multiplicity of other causes from OA, SLR, GREED, $$$, etc...
To think or feel otherwise, imho, is a manifestation of one's consummate denial of the greatest substance abuse problem in the entire history of our Earth.
Whether human caused or possibly just a natural blip or greater in the history of this world, in either event we must adapt to survive the longest and prepare for the worst.
What might that be for starters, particularly here in the once and yet still to be again Golden State, my native home?
How about a couple of dams across the Golden Gate to save 2/3 of California's water supply, for future food security, and to avoid how many trillions in other inundated real estate losses?
The fate of the salmon?
Watch Salmon Fishing In the Yemen and have faith!

Jul 25, 2019
It's obscene, for what idiots the AGW Cult takes their flock.
Gobble up, Chicken Shites.

Jul 25, 2019
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Jul 25, 2019
@Tehgeighalgore hates salmon.

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