Predicted effects of future climate warming on thermal habitat suitability for Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens, Rafinesque, 1817) in rivers in Wisconsin, USA

Journal of Applied Ichthyology
John Lyons, WI Department of Natural Resources
By:  and 

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Abstract

The Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens, Rafinesque, 1817) may be threatened by future climate warming. The purpose of this study was to identify river reaches in Wisconsin, USA, where they might be vulnerable to warming water temperatures. In Wisconsin, A. fulvescens is known from 2291 km of large-river habitat that has been fragmented into 48 discrete river-lake networks isolated by impassable dams. Although the exact temperature tolerances are uncertain, water temperatures above 28–30°C are potentially less suitable for this coolwater species. Predictions from 13 downscaled global climate models were input to a lotic water temperature model to estimate amounts of potential thermally less-suitable habitat at present and for 2046–2065. Currently, 341 km (14.9%) of the known habitat are estimated to regularly exceed 28°C for an entire day, but only 6 km (0.3%) to exceed 30°C. In 2046–2065, 685–2164 km (29.9–94.5%) are projected to exceed 28°C and 33–1056 km (1.4–46.1%) to exceed 30°C. Most river-lake networks have cooler segments, large tributaries, or lakes that might provide temporary escape from potentially less suitable temperatures, but 12 short networks in the Lower Fox and Middle Wisconsin rivers totaling 93.6 km are projected to have no potential thermal refugia. One possible adaptation to climate change could be to provide fish passage or translocation so that riverine Lake Sturgeon might have access to more thermally suitable habitats.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Predicted effects of future climate warming on thermal habitat suitability for Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens, Rafinesque, 1817) in rivers in Wisconsin, USA
Series title Journal of Applied Ichthyology
DOI 10.1111/jai.12543
Volume 30
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Publisher location Berlin
Contributing office(s) Wisconsin Water Science Center
Description 6 p.
First page 1508
Last page 1513
Country United States
State Wisconsin
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N