64.944325000 -146.251807000

Climate Warming Effects on Chinook Salmon Foraging Conditions and Growth

Synopsis:Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are critical to subsistence in communities along major rivers of the Yukon River drainage in interior Alaska. Climate change is likely to challenge Chinook salmon in this area with increased water temperature and streamflow. Historically, Chinook population productivity has declined in years with sustained high flow during the period when juvenile Chinook are feeding in freshwater, probably due in part to reduced prey consumption and growth. Because the optimal temperature for growth of juvenile Chinook salmon is much lower when they are food-limited than when they are well-fed, determining the likely response to a warming climate requires understanding how conditions for prey consumption vary with streamflow. Therefore, this project will quantify spatiotemporal and flow-related variability in the concentrations of drifting prey and distracting debris in the Chena River basin, one of the major Chinook producers in interior Alaska and the watershed most heavily impacted by human development in the region. Locally-tested foraging and bioenergetics models will connect these measurements to field-validated juvenile growth predictions under current and projected future climatic conditions. These results will inform organizations restoring impacted habitat with finite resources about which areas have the requisite thermal and foraging conditions to support more juvenile Chinook salmon if other habitat qualities such as cover and connectivity are improved.
Location(s):Sampling site
Project #:52002
Federal Fiscal Year:2018
Project Period:3/1/2019 - 11/30/2021
Carol Volk Principal Investigator South Fork Research, Inc.
Jason Neuswanger Co-Principal Investigator South Fork Research, Inc.
Mark Wipfli Co-Principal Investigator University of Alaska Fairbanks
Erik Schoen Co-Principal Investigator University of Alaska Fairbanks
James Savereide Co-Principal Investigator ADF&G, Division of Sport Fish
Statement of Work AKSSF Reports
Semiannual Report 11/1/2018 - 4/30/2019 PDF
Semiannual Report 5/1/2019 - 10/31/2019 PDF
Semiannual Report 11/1/2019 - 4/30/2020 PDF

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