My research focuses on two aspects of how climate change will affect brook trout in the northeastern United States. First, brook trout distributions are likely to shift upstream as air and water temperatures rise. However, increasing variability of precipitation could cause some headwater streams to shift from perennial to intermittent flows or vice versa. In addition, natural and anthropogenic barriers to fish passage will limit upstream movement in some streams. Thus, the amount of brook trout habitat available and the amount they can actually occupy are both likely to change. Second, extreme events such as floods and droughts are expected to increase in frequency and magnitude. Floods are more likely to impact early life stages, while droughts are more likely to impact larger, adult fish. Coupled with increased water temperatures, this could have important ramifications for the persistence of brook trout populations in the northeast.
Watch Paul at work -> /news/fellow-highlight-understanding-and-protecting-brook-trout-habitat