Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7504
Title: Predator-prey migration phenologies remain synchronized in a warming catchment
Author: C. J. Sergeant, J. B. Armstrong, E. J. Ward
Publication Year: 2014
Journal: Freshwater Biology
Keywords: climate change,salmon,warming,predator prey,synchrony,portfoloio,

1.     Animal migrations often evolve to exploit seasonal variation in foraging opportunities. Many migrants move among discrete habitats using environmental cues to time their arrivals with seasonal peaks in food abundance. This type of migratory behaviour has been hypothesized to be particularly vulnerable to climate change, which can generate asynchrony between the seasonal timing (phenology) of animal movements and periods of resource abundance in destination habitats.

2.     While many studies have documented climate-induced mismatches between migrants and the lower trophic levels they target, virtually none have explored the consequences of altered migration phenology on the higher trophic levels that migrants often subsidize. We explored the roles of climatic variation and prey migrations in driving the seasonal migrations of predators.

3.     We show that in a warming catchment where prey migrations have changed substantially over the last 4 decades, migrations of Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) (predator) remain synchronized with annually variable Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) (prey) migrations and appear to be cued directly by salmon migration rather than environmental conditions.