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Literature Review of Climate Change Impacts on Pacific Salmon and Steelhead

Environmental changes acting on salmon are not just from temperature change but from a number of physical changes in freshwater and ocean habitat.

Environmental changes acting on salmon are not just from temperature change but from a number of physical changes in freshwater and ocean habitat.  These changes affect both habitat and food availability. 

Environmental contaminants are increasing, along with changes in the abundance and distribution of species that compete with or prey on salmon.  As salmon populations change in size or hatcheries breed selectively, genetic variability in salmon populations changes too.  These are all drivers of change in salmon.

Salmon respond to climate change through behavior, morphology (body shape), growth rates, performance, survival, and population growth rate or productivity.  They may also adapt through timing shifts, as described for wild sockeye salmon

Run-timing Matters: Evolution, Plasticity, and Functional Extinction of Unique Pacific Salmon Populations

Salmon are exceptionally well studied relative to many other taxa.  Therefore, an extensive literature documenting drivers and responses in salmon is available to help understand processes that are likely to affect many other species. 

Thus, the literature on salmon provides a valuable case study of biological impacts of climate change more generally.  To clarify what is known, we conduct annual literature reviews of studies addressing climate impacts on salmon, particularly salmon in the Pacific Northwest.  

Bar charts show the percentage of papers in the scientific literature that address some of these topics from about 2,000 relevant papers published during 2010‑2019.  Upper chart shows the range of drivers affect salmon response to the environment, and lower chart shows the range of responses have been measured in salmon. All of these papers help explain their cumulative response to climate change.
Bar charts show the percentage of papers in the scientific literature that address some of these topics from about 2,000 relevant papers published during 2010‑2019. Upper chart shows the range of drivers that affect salmon responses to the environment, and lower chart shows the range of responses to aspects of climate changes that have been measured in salmon. All of these papers help explain their cumulative response to climate change. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

References 

(Available from NWFSC Publications Database)

Crozier, L. G. 2011. Biological effects of climate change:  literature review of 2010 citations for NMFS biological opinion. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Seattle, Washington

Crozier, L. G. 2012. Biological effects of climate change: literature review of 2011 citations for NMFS biological opinion. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Seattle, Washington

Crozier, L. G. 2013. Impacts of climate change on Columbia River salmon:  a review of the scientific literature published in 2012. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Seattle, Washington

Crozier, L. G., D. Dechant, K. Sullivan. 2014. Impacts of climate change on Columbia River salmon:  a review of the scientific literature published in 2013. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Seattle, Washington

Crozier, L. G. 2015. Impacts of climate change on salmon of the Pacific Northwest: a review of the scientific literature published in 2014. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Seattle, Washington

Crozier, L. G. 2016. Impacts of climate change on salmon of the Pacific Northwest: a review of the scientific literature published in 2015. Report of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Seattle, Washington

Crozier, L. G. 2017. Impacts of climate change on salmon of the Pacific Northwest: a review of the scientific literature published in 2016. Butzerin, J. M. National Marine Fisheries Service , Seattle, Washington

Crozier, L. G., J. Siegel. 2018. Impacts of climate change on salmon of the Pacific Northwest: a review of the scientific literature published in 2017. National Marine Fisheries Service , Seattle, Washington

Siegel, J., L. G. Crozier. 2019. Impacts of climate change on salmon of the Pacific Northwest: a review of the scientific literature published in 2018. National Marine Fisheries Service , Seattle, Washington

Siegel, J., and L. G. Crozier. 2020. Impacts of Climate Change on Columbia River Salmon: A review of the scientific literature published in 2019. U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Region. https://doi.org/10.25923/jke5-c307.

Last updated by Northwest Fisheries Science Center on September 07, 2022

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