Assessing the vulnerability of freshwater fishes to climate change in Newfoundland and Labrador

Olusanya, Hope and Zyll de Jong, M. van (2018) Assessing the vulnerability of freshwater fishes to climate change in Newfoundland and Labrador. PLoS ONE, 13 (12). ISSN 1932-6203

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Freshwater fish populations are rapidly declining globally due to the impacts of rapid climate change and existing non-climatic anthropogenic stressors. In response to these drivers, freshwater fishes are responding by shifting their distribution range, altering the timing of migration and spawning and through demographic processes. By 2050, the mean daily air temperature is predicted to increase by 2 to 3 degrees C in insular Newfoundland and by 3 to 4 degrees C in Labrador. Mean daily precipitation is also projected to increase in all locations, with increased intensity projected for several regions. To mitigate negative consequences of these changes, managers require analytical approaches that describe the vulnerability of fish to climate change. To address this need, the current study adopts the National Marine Fisheries Service vulnerability assessment framework to characterize the vulnerability of freshwater fishes in Newfoundland and Labrador. Twelve vulnerability indicators were developed from an extensive literature review and applied to the assessment. Experts were solicited using an online questionnaire survey and scores for exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were collated and analyzed to derive a final vulnerability score and rank for each species. The analysis showed one species to be of high—very high vulnerability, two species were highly vulnerable while four species were moderately vulnerable to climate change. The result provides insight into the factors that drive vulnerability of freshwater fishes in the region, this information is significant to decision-makers and other stakeholders engaged in managing freshwater fish resources in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 13741
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Keywords: Freshwater fish, Anthropogenic climate change , Climate change, Trout Newfoundland and Labrador Lakes Surveys Evolutionary adaptation
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Date: 3 December 2018
Date Type: Publication
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
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