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Melting glaciers will challenge some salmon populations and benefit others

 

A diverse team of 14 scientists (including researchers from the Moore Lab) with backgrounds ranging from salmon biology to climate change; glaciers to river systems, integrated these fields of study to synthesize the different pathways of effects that glacier retreat has on Pacific salmon and their habitats.

The researchers predict that some salmon populations in western North America may benefit, while others may struggle from the effects of glacier retreat over the coming decades.

The study shows that 85 percent of major salmon watersheds or regions in western North America currently have at least some glacier coverage. But glaciers in this region are expected to lose up to 80 percent of their ice volume by 2100, with significant implications for salmon habitat such as availability, water flows, and water temperatures.

The study predicted that in some inland arid watersheds in the southern portion of Pacific salmon’s range, the loss of cold glacier meltwater during summer months could lead to warmer waters and low river flows that challenge both adult and young salmon.

In regions where the landscape is still dominated by large glaciers, such as in south-central Alaska, glaciers are retreating from low-lying valleys, creating new rivers and lakes that can be colonized by salmon.

The relative benefits and challenges posed by the different phases of glacier retreat will also vary depending on the watershed context, the salmon species and life stage (adult or juvenile).

This study showcases the need for forward-looking perspectives on salmon conservation and management in an era of rapid global change. There is an urgent need to protect and manage for the future of salmon and their ecosystems, not just the present.​

Media: Vancouver Sun; CFAX 1070 Radio.

Latest News

May 4, 2020 - Congratulations Alex Sawyer (MSc student) and Jon Moore on the publication of their insights from the 2019 AFS Pacific salmon science symposium. Those with Fisheries Magazine access can read it here.

 

Apr 27, 2020 - Congratulations Will Atlas (previous PhD student), Jon Moore and Kara Pitman (PhD student) on the publication of their paper on using lake productivity to evaluate data-poor sockeye populations. Read the paper.

 

Apr 24, 2020 - Congratulations Jon Moore on the publication of his letter in Science, "Canada's mines pose transboundary risks".

 

Apr 14, 2020 - Read the new Moore Lab Science News article "Egging on aggression—Poor salmon returns increase aggression among egg-predating fishes." 

Apr 6, 2020 - Brandon Nam successfully defended his Honours thesis on habitat use by juvenile coho across an estuary ecotone. Congratulations Brandon!

 

Apr, 1 2020 - Check out our weekly COVID-19 isolation-inspired Notes from the Field.

 

Mar 10, 2020 - Congratulations Kara Pitman (PhD student) and Jon Moore on the publication of their collaborative synthesis of the effects of glacier retreat on Pacific Salmon. Read the paper. Vancouver Sun article.

Feb 5, 2020 - Congratulations Emma Hodgson (past Postdoc), Jon Moore and Sam Wilson (PhD student) on your paper titled "Changing estuaries and impacts on juvenile salmon: A systematic review".

Jan 31, 2020 - Karl Sietz successfully defended his MSc on fish community dynamics and nursery habitats in an undeveloped estuary. ​Karl will be continuing with the Lab as a Research Associate managing the Koeye Salmon Ecosystem Study.

 

Nov 14, 2019 - Welcome to our new Lab Manager Tash Prokop! Assisting her will be long-time Research Assistant Mikayla More O'Ferrall.

Sep 19, 2019 - The AFS/TWS Joint Conference in Reno, NV (Sep 29-Oct 3) is fast approaching! We have current and past lab members presenting their research and hosting symposiums. Stay tuned for more highlights!

Sep 11, 2019 - Welcome Dylan Cunningham (MSc student) and Steven Brownlee (PhD student) to our lab! 

 

Sep 1, 2019 - Congratulations Jon on receiving your full tenure professorship!  

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