Effects of current and future climates on the growth dynamics and distributions of two riverine fishes

Allen-Ankins, Slade, and Stoffels, Rick J. (2020) Effects of current and future climates on the growth dynamics and distributions of two riverine fishes. Aquatic Conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems, 31 (1). pp. 185-197.

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Abstract

1. To facilitate conservation planning, there is a need for improved confidence in forecasts of climate change impacts on species distributions. Towards that end, there have been calls for the development of process‐based models to test hypotheses concerning the mechanisms by which temperature shapes distribution and to corroborate forecasts of correlative models.

2. Models of temperature‐dependent growth (TDG) were developed for two Australian riverine blackfishes with disjunct longitudinal distributions: Gadopsis marmoratus (occupies lower, warmer elevations) and Gadopsis bispinosus (occupies higher, cooler elevations). The models were used to (a) predict blackfish monthly and annual growth dynamics under current and future climate scenarios within different elevation bands of their current distribution, and (b) test the hypothesis that, under the current climate, the distributions of each species would be positively correlated with predicted TDG.

3. Increases in mean annual growth were forecast for both species under all warming scenarios, across all elevation bands. Both species currently occupy annual habitat temperatures below those optimal for growth. Under certain warming scenarios, the predicted increases in annual growth belie forecasts of within‐year dynamics that may interact with the phenology of blackfish to impair recruitment.

4. There was not a significant positive linear relationship between predicted TDG and observed abundance among river segments for either species. Both species were strongly under‐represented where annual growth rates were forecast to be optimal and over‐represented where growth rates were forecast to be intermediate.

5. Confidence in forecasts of climate change impacts based on correlative models will increase when those forecasts are consistent with a mechanistic understanding of how specific drivers (e.g. water temperature) affect processes (e.g. growth). This process‐based study revealed surprises concerning how future climates may affect fish growth dynamics, showing that although the blackfish distributions are correlated with temperature the temperature‐dependent mechanisms underpinning that correlation require further investigation.

Item ID: 64247
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1099-0755
Keywords: climate change, distribution, fish, growth, modelling, river, stream
Copyright Information: © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Funders: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Holdsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, La Trobe University (LTU)
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 07:41
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 60%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 40%
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