Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 680
Title: Evolutionary responses to climate change for organisms with complex life histories: evolution and plasticity in Pacific salmon
Author: Lisa G. Crozier, A. P. Hendry, Peter W. Lawson, T. P. Quinn, Nathan Mantua, J. Battin, R. G. Shaw, R. B. Huey
Publication Year: 2008
Journal: Evolutionary Applications
Volume: 1
Issue: 2
Pages: 252-270
Keywords: genetic correlation, global warming, phenological change, smolt timing, genetic correlation, global warming

Salmon life histories are finely tuned to local environmental conditions, which are intimately linked to climate.  We summarize the likely impacts of climate change on the physical environment of salmon in the Pacific Northwest and discuss the potential evolutionary consequences of these changes, with particular reference to Columbia River Basin spring/summer Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) salmon.  We discuss the possible evolutionary responses in migration and spawning date egg and juvenile growth and development rates, thermal tolerance, and disease resistance.  We know little about ocean migration pathways, so cannot confidently suggest the potential changes in this life stage.  Climate change might produce conflicting selection pressures in different life stages, which will interact with plastic (i.e. nongenetic) changes in various ways.  To clarify these interactions, we present a conceptual model of how changing environmental conditions shift phenotypic optima and, through plastic responses, phenotype distributions, affecting the force of selection.  Our predictions are tentative because we lack data on the strength of selection, heritability, and ecological and genetic linkages among many of the traits discussed here.  Despite the challenges involved in experimental manipulation of species with complex life histories, such research is essential for full appreciation of the biological effects of climate change.

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