Climate change is affecting streams in Bavaria and California in similar ways.
Water temperatures, extreme flooding events, and the variability of precipitation events are all expected to increase into the next century. Fishes in streams will have to adapt to increasingly variable environmental conditions.
Interestingly, both states have several cold-water species, species expected to be the most vulnerable to conditions associated with climate change. These species include rainbow trout, brook trout, and brown trout.
Both regions also have salmon, Danube salmon in Bavaria and Ocorhynchus species (e.g., Chinook, coho) in California, and Coregonid (whitefish) species. However, because the magnitude of effects differ between regions, the response of these species are likely to differ, facilitating the comparison of intra- and interspecies response.
UCD and the Technische Universität München (TUM) are conducting research to quantify changes in species distributions through the contraction or expansion of ranges.
The collaborative effort began in 2011 with a two week summer school hosted by TUM. The main topic of the summer school was Life Sciences in the 21st Century with a Focus on Water. Later, beginning in April 2012, one of the participants of the summer school, Rebecca Quiñones, was awarded a one-year scholarship to pursue postdoctoral research at TUM.
During the course of that year Becca collaborated on several research projects that aimed at understanding how landuse practices and resource management interacted with climate change to influence aquatic biodiversity, using fishes as indicator species. She, along with Drs. Juegen Geist and Karl Auerswald, are currently summarizing the results of a study in the Moosach River in preparation for publication.
The study looked at how long-term trends in fish abundance may be responding to warming water temperatures and increasing instream channel erosion. Preliminary results suggest that fish communites are being altered, as a result of declines in gravel-spawning (salmonid) species, due to the aggregation of fine sediment within the stream channel.