Effects of climate change and habitat fragmentation on stream fish
Climate change is predicted to alter stream temperatures and flow regimes resulting in spatial alterations to suitable habitats for freshwater aquatic biodiversity. The ability of stream species to adapt to climate change through range shifts to access suitable stream habitat will likely be important for many species. This project will assess the ability of species to disperse from streams they currently occupy into new areas which have become suitable due to climate change. The inclusion of dispersal potential will allow us to create a more realistic representation of fish species future distributions than models based on habitat alone. Additionally, this work will allow for the identification of stream reaches which provide important corridors for the movement of stream fish from current to future suitable habitats. We will also use the information to quantify the amount of suitable future habitat which is isolated by dams and therefore unavailable for colonization. This information can be used by resource managers to aid in the prioritization of barrier removal projects. This work will not only provide valuable information on the potential for stream fish species to respond to the impacts of climate change in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, but will also provide a framework which can be used to assess the adaptability of stream fish to climate change impacts in other regions.