From: University of Toronto via ScienceDaily
Published July 15, 2015 07:39 AM

As species adapt to a warming climate, ecosystems change

If it seems like you're pulling more bass than trout out of Ontario's lakes this summer, you probably are.

Blame it on the ripple effect of climate change and warming temperatures. Birds migrate earlier, flowers bloom faster, and fish move to newly warmed waters putting local species at risk.

To mitigate the trend and support conservation efforts, scientists at the University of Toronto (U of T) are sharing a way to predict which plants or animals may be vulnerable to the arrival of a new species.

The researchers looked specifically at the impact of several species of bass, fish that prefer warm water and have expanded their range northward over the past 30 years as temperatures have increased. They looked at both historical and recent data for 30 different fish species in more than 1500 lakes throughout Ontario. In most cases, they found bass and smaller fish species did not share the lake for long -- the bass wiped out vulnerable fish species in relatively short order, in part by taking a share of the food available and in part by predation.

"We found that prized sportfish, such as Brook trout and the smaller fish that trout eat, are disappearing from lakes where species of Bass have expanded their habitats," said Karen Alofs, a postdoctoral researcher working with ecologist and conservation biologist Donald Jackson in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at U of T, describing a study published this week in Proceeding of the Royal Society B.

An Ontario freshwater Lake Chub. Of all North American minnows, it is the one with the northernmost distribution. University of Toronto ecologists found its existence threatened by predators whose range of habitats are expanding northward due to climate change. (Photo: Don Jackson) Credit: Don Jackson/University of Toronto

Read more at ScienceDaily.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

2017©. Copyright Environmental News Network