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Individual Highlight

Impacts of Cimate Change on Pacific Island Streams

Photo of Forest Service researchers set drift nets to sample larval fish and shrimp that are released to the water column. USDA Forest ServiceForest Service researchers set drift nets to sample larval fish and shrimp that are released to the water column. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forest Service scientists studied how various ecological and hydrological functions responded to changes in rainfall. Streamflow and metrics all decreased along a naturally occuring rainfall gradient. The scientists also studied how the changes in rainfall impactednutrient spiraling, goby larval recruitment, food web structure, and shrimp reproduction. ?

Principal Investigators(s) :
Mackenzie, Richard A. 
Research Location : Hawaii
Research Station : Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 919

Summary

Many climate models predict warmer and drier conditions throughout the tropics, yet it is unclear how the changes will impact tropical streams. Using a naturally occurring rainfall gradient along the north Hilo coastline of Hawaii Island, Forest Service scientists monitored how stream flow and various ecological parameters from 12 streams responded to changes in rainfall. Stream flow, flow stability, and flashiness all decreased with decreasing rainfall, while flow variability increased. Reduced stream flow resulted in a shift in invertebrate production, decreased algal growth, food quantity but not quality, and decreased invertebrate fitness. Shrimp egg production decreased with decreasing stream flow as did the timing and frequency of shrimp larvae to the water column.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Christian P. Giardina
  • Michael Riney
  • Patra Foulk
  • Ayron Strauch
  • James Akau
  • Jessica Miller
  • Ralph Tingley
  • Therese Frauendorf