Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Dr. George Pess
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Climate Change

Climate change is altering aquatic ecosystems via changes in precipitation patterns, stream flow, temperatures, sea level, and water chemistry, and these changes are accelerating rapidly. These shifting ecosystem drivers are forcing managers to evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on riverine and coastal ecosystems, and to ask whether and how restoration plans or project designs should be altered to accommodate climate change. The key aim of our climate research is to guide managers toward actions that ameliorate climate change effects or increase riverine ecosystem resilience, and to design restoration projects that can remain effective despite future changes to peak flows, low flows, or stream temperature.

Our climate change research focuses on two main topic areas:

Research Products

Vulnerability and resilience to climate change

Arthaud, D. L., C.M. Greene, K. Guilbault, and J.V. Morrow. 2010. Contrasting life-cycle impacts of stream flow on two Chinook salmon populations. Hydrobiologia 655(1):171-188. doi:10.1007/s10750-010-0419-0.

Bærum, K., T. Haugen, P. Kiffney, E. Oslen, and A. Vøllestad. 2013. Interacting effects of temperature and population density on individual growth in a wild population of brown trout. Freshwater Biology 56:1329-1339.

Beechie, T. J., M. Ruckelshaus, E. Buhle, A. Fullerton, and L. Holsinger. 2006. Hydrologic regime and the conservation of salmon life history diversity. Biological Conservation 130(4):560-572.

Busch, D.S., C.M. Greene, and T.P. Good. 2013. Estimating impacts of tidal power and climate change on threatened and endangered marine species and their food web. Conservation Biology 27(6):1190-1200.

Greene, C.M., J. Hall, K. Guilbault, and T.P. Quinn. 2009. Improved viability of population with diverse life history portfolios. Biology Letters. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0780.

Kiffney, P.M., J.P. Bull, and M.C. Feller. 2002. Climatic and hydrologic variability in a coastal watershed of southwestern British Columbia. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 38:1437-1451.

McClure, M., S. Carlson, G. Pess, T. Beechie, J. Jorgensen, S. Sogard, B. Sanderson, D. Holzer, R. Carmichael, and M. Power. 2008. Evolutionary consequences of habitat loss for Pacific anadromous Salmonids. Evolutionary Applications 1:300-318.

Pess, G., D.R. Montgomery, T.J. Beechie, and L. Holsinger. 2003. Anthropogenic alterations to the biogeography of Puget Sound salmon. Pages 129-154 in D. Montgomery, S. Bolton, D. Booth and L. Wall, editors. Restoration of Puget Sound rivers. University Washington Press, Seattle.

Reum, J.C., T.E. Essington, C. Greene, C.A. Rice, and K.L. Fresh. 2011. Multiscale influence of climate on estuarine populations of forage fish: the role of coastal upwelling, freshwater flow, and temperature. Marine Ecology Progress Series 425:203-215.

Waples, R.S., T. J. Beechie, and G.R. Pess. 2009. Evolutionary history, habitat disturbance regimes, and anthropogenic changes: what do these mean for resilience of Pacific salmon populations? Ecology and Society 14 (1):3.
[online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss1/art3/

Waples, R.S., G.R. Pess, and T. Beechie. 2008. Evolutionary history of Pacific salmon in dynamic environments. Evolutionary Applications 1:189-206.

Wade, A., T.J. Beechie, E. Fleishman, H. Wu, N.J. Mantua, J.S. Kimball, D.M.  Stoms, and J.A. Stanford. 2013. Steelhead vulnerability to climate change in the Pacific Northwest. Journal of Applied Ecology 50(5):1093-1104. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12137.

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Restoration for a changing climate

Beechie, T.J., M. Ruckelshaus, E. Buhle, A. Fullerton, and L. Holsinger. 2006. Hydrologic regime and the conservation of salmon life history diversity. Biological Conservation 130(4):560-572.

Reidy-Liermann, C.A., J.D. Olden, T.J. Beechie, M.J. Kennard, P.B. Skidmore, C.P. Konrad, and H. Imaki. 2012. Hydrogeomorphic classification of Washington state rivers to support emerging environmental flow management strategies. River Research and Applications 28:1340-1358. doi: 10.1002/rra.1541.

See our River Restoration research products and Estuary Restoration research products.

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