FishVis, A regional decision support tool for identifying vulnerabilities of riverine habitat and fishes to climate change in the Great Lakes Region

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5124
Prepared in cooperation with Michigan State University, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Institute of Fisheries Research, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
By: , and 

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Abstract

Climate change is expected to alter the distributions and community composition of stream fishes in the Great Lakes region in the 21st century, in part as a result of altered hydrological systems (stream temperature, streamflow, and habitat). Resource managers need information and tools to understand where fish species and stream habitats are expected to change under future conditions. Fish sample collections and environmental variables from multiple sources across the United States Great Lakes Basin were integrated and used to develop empirical models to predict fish species occurrence under present-day climate conditions. Random Forests models were used to predict the probability of occurrence of 13 lotic fish species within each stream reach in the study area. Downscaled climate data from general circulation models were integrated with the fish species occurrence models to project fish species occurrence under future climate conditions. The 13 fish species represented three ecological guilds associated with water temperature (cold, cool, and warm), and the species were distributed in streams across the Great Lakes region. Vulnerability (loss of species) and opportunity (gain of species) scores were calculated for all stream reaches by evaluating changes in fish species occurrence from present-day to future climate conditions. The 13 fish species included 4 cold-water species, 5 cool-water species, and 4 warm-water species. Presently, the 4 cold-water species occupy from 15 percent (55,000 kilometers [km]) to 35 percent (130,000 km) of the total stream length (369,215 km) across the study area; the 5 cool-water species, from 9 percent (33,000 km) to 58 percent (215,000 km); and the 4 warm-water species, from 9 percent (33,000 km) to 38 percent (141,000 km).

Fish models linked to projections from 13 downscaled climate models projected that in the mid to late 21st century (2046–65 and 2081–2100, respectively) habitats suitable for all 4 cold-water species and 4 of 5 cool-water species under present-day conditions will decline as much as 86 percent and as little as 33 percent, and habitats suitable for all 4 warm-water species will increase as much as 33 percent and as little as 7 percent. This report documents the approach and data used to predict and project fish species occurrence under present-day and future climate conditions for 13 lotic fish species in the United States Great Lakes Basin. A Web-based decision support mapping application termed “FishVis” was developed to provide a means to integrate, visualize, query, and download the results of these projected climate-driven responses and help inform conservation planning efforts within the region.

Suggested Citation

Stewart, J.S., Covert, S.A., Estes, N.J., Westenbroek, S.M., Krueger, Damon, Wieferich, D.J., Slattery, M.T., Lyons, J.D., McKenna, J.E., Jr., Infante, D.M., and Bruce, J.L., 2016, FishVis, A regional decision support tool for identifying vulnerabilities of riverine habitat and fishes to climate change in the Great Lakes Region: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5124, 15 p., with appendixes, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165124.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Fish Species Occurrence Under Current and Future Climate Conditions
  • FishVis, A Web-Based Decision Support Mapping Application
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendixes 1–4

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title FishVis, A regional decision support tool for identifying vulnerabilities of riverine habitat and fishes to climate change in the Great Lakes Region
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2016-5124
DOI 10.3133/sir20165124
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Wisconsin Water Science Center, Core Science Analytics, Synthesis, and Libraries
Description Report: viii, 15 p.; Appendixes 1-4
Country United States
Other Geospatial Great Lakes Region
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y