Publications

Thermal landscapes in a changing climate: biological implications of water temperature patterns in an extreme year

Citation

E. Ashley Steel, A.E., Marsha, A., Fullerton, A.H., Olden, J.D., Larkin, N.K., Lee, S., and Ferguson, A. 2018. Thermal landscapes in a changing climate: biological implications of water temperature patterns in an extreme year. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2018-0244.


Abstract

Record-breaking droughts and high temperatures in 2015 across the Pacific Northwest, USA provide an opportunistic glimpse into potential future thermal regimes of rivers and their implications for freshwater fishes. We applied spatial stream network models (SSNMs) to data collected every 30 min for four years at 42 sites on the Snoqualmie River (Washington, United States) to compare water temperature patterns, summarized with relevance to particular life stages of native and nonnative fishes, in 2015 to more typical conditions (2012-2014). Although 2015 conditions were drier and warmer than what had been observed since 1960, patterns were neither consistent over the year nor on the network. Some locations showed dramatic increases in air and water temperature whereas others had temperatures that differed little from typical years; these results contrasted with existing forecasts of future thermal landscapes. If we will observe years like 2015 more frequently in the future, we can expect conditions to be less favorable to native, coolwater fishes such as Chinook Salmon and Bull Trout but beneficial to warmwater nonnative species such as Largemouth Bass.