Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4187
Title: Beyond the mean: The role of variability in predicting ecological effects of stream temperature on salmon
Author: E. Ashley Steel, Abby E. Tillotson, Donald A. Larsen, A. H. Fullerton, Keith P. Denton, Brian R. Beckman
Publication Year: 2012
Journal: Ecosphere
Volume: 3
Issue: 11
Pages: 104
Keywords: water temperature,variability,emergence timing,altered thermal regimes

Alterations in variance of riverine thermal regimes have been observed and are predicted with climate change and human development.  We tested whether changes in daily or seasonal thermal variability, aside from changes in mean temperature, could have biological consequences by exposing Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) eggs to eight experimental thermal regimes.  Thermal variance impacted both emergence timing and development at emergence.  Further, genetics influenced the magnitude of that response.  Ecological implications include:  (1) changes in thermal variability, independent of warming, have the potential to alter the timing of life history processes,  (2) the commonly-used degree day accumulation model is not sufficient to predict how organisms respond to altered temperature regimes, and  (3) there are likely to be genetic differences in how individuals and populations respond to future water temperature regimes.

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Theme: Habitats to Support Sustainable Fisheries and Recovered Populations
Foci: Characterize habitat effects on ecosystem processes, ecological interactions and the health of organisms.
Characterize the interaction of human use and habitat distribution, quantity and quality.