Melting polar ice, rising sea levels not only climate change dangers
Melting polar ice, rising sea levels not only climate change dangers.
Climate change from political and ecological standpoints is a constant in the media and with good reason, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, but proof of its impact is sometimes found in unlikely places.
"Discussions of climate change usually are focused on changes occurring in polar and temperate zones, but tropical regions also are expected to experience changes in regional precipitation," said Dr. Kirk Winemiller, AgriLife Research fisheries scientist and Regents Professor in the department of wildlife and fisheries sciences at College Station.
Winemiller and his Brazilian colleagues analyzed a long-term database, 1999-2014, of fish survey statistics and hydrology in the central Amazon and discovered a direct correlation between water quantity and quality with the types and number of fish species found.
"The change occurred following the severe drought in that region in 2005, and the hydrologic regime and fish assemblage have not returned to their previous states since," Winemiller said.
The research report, "Simultaneous abrupt shifts in hydrology and fish assemblage structure in a floodplain lake in the central Amazon," was published recently in Scientific Reports, the online publication of Nature.
"Since the drought, many fish species are less abundant within the study area, while others have increased.
Winemiller said the changes within the fish species appeared to be associated with how the fish species respond differently to changes in habitat quality and the connectivity of the river channel with aquatic habitats in the floodplain at various water levels and times of the year.
"It shows that future fisheries management in tropical regions will need to account for how changes in precipitation and hydrology influence ecological factors affecting fish stocks."
Original written by Steve Byrns.