Climate change and expanding invasive species drive widespread declines of native trout in the northern Rocky Mountains, USA

Donovan A. Bell, Ryan P. Kovach, Clint C. Muhlfeld, Robert Al-Chokhachy, Timothy J. Cline, Diane C. Whited, David A. Schmetterling, Paul M. Lukacs, Andrew R. Whiteley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Climate change and invasive species are major threats to native biodiversity, but few empirical studies have examined their combined effects at large spatial and temporal scales. Using 21, 917 surveys collected over 30 years, we quantified the impacts of climate change on the past and future distributions of five interacting native and invasive trout species throughout the northern Rocky Mountains, USA. We found that the occupancy of native bull trout and cutthroat trout declined by 18 and 6%, respectively (1993-2018), and was predicted to decrease by an additional 39 and 16% by 2080. However, reasons for these occupancy reductions markedly differed among species: Climate-driven increases in water temperature and decreases in summer flow likely caused declines of bull trout, while climate-induced expansion of invasive species largely drove declines of cutthroat trout. Our results demonstrate that climate change can affect ecologically similar, co-occurring native species through distinct pathways, necessitating species-specific management actions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabj5471
JournalScience advances
Volume7
Issue number52
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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