Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Landscape Characteristics Influence Climate Change Effects on Juvenile Chinook and Coho Salmon Rearing Habitat in the Kenai River Watershed
by Meyer, Benjamin, M.S., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2020, 132; 28028998
Abstract (Summary)

Changes in temperature and precipitation as a result of ongoing climate warming in south-central Alaska are affecting juvenile salmon rearing habitat differently across watersheds. Work presented here simulates summer growth rates of juvenile Chinook and coho salmon in streams under future climate and feeding scenarios in the Kenai River (Alaska) watershed across a spectrum of landscape settings from lowland to glacially-influenced. I used field-derived data on water temperature, diet, and body size as inputs to bioenergetics models to simulate growth for the 2030–2039 and 2060–2069 time periods, comparing back to 2010–2019. My results suggest decreasing growth rates under most future scenarios; predicted changes were of lower magnitude in the cooler glacial watershed and main stem and more in montane and lowland watersheds. The results demonstrate how stream and landscape types differentially filter a climate signal to juvenile rearing salmon habitat and contribute to a broader portfolio of habitats in early life stages. Additionally, I examined two years of summer water temperature data from sites throughout our study tributaries to assess the degree to which lower-reach sites are representative of upstream thermal regimes. I found that the lower reaches in the lowland and glacial study watersheds were reasonably representative of daily and seasonal main stem thermal conditions upstream, while in the montane study watershed (elevation and gradient mid-way between the lowland watershed) upstream conditions were less consistent and thus less suitable for thermal characterization by a lower-reach site alone. Together, this work highlights examples of the importance of accounting for habitat diversity when assessing climate change impacts to salmon-bearing streams.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wipfli, Mark, Rinella, Daniel
Commitee: Schoen, Erik, Falke, Jeffrey
School: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Department: Fisheries
School Location: United States -- Alaska
Source: MAI 82/2(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Ecology, Climate Change, Environmental science, Zoology
Keywords: Alaska, Bioenergetics, Chinook salmon, Climate change, Coho salmon, Kenai River
Publication Number: 28028998
ISBN: 9798664751895
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