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Climate change and expanding invasive species drive widespread declines of native trout in the northern Rocky Mountains, USAClimate change and invasive species are major threats to native biodiversity, but few empirical studies have examined their combined effects at large spatial and temporal scales. Using 21,917 surveys collected over 30 years, we quantified the impacts of climate change on the past and future distributions of five interacting native and invasive trout species throughout the northern Rocky Mountains, USA. We found that the occupancy of native bull trout and cutthroat trout declined by 18 and 6%, respectively (1993–2018), and was predicted to decrease by an additional 39 and 16% by 2080. However, reasons for these occupancy reductions markedly differed among species: Climate-driven increases in water temperature and decreases in summer flow likely caused declines of bull trout, while climate-induced expansion of invasive species largely drove declines of cutthroat trout. Our results demonstrate that climate change can affect ecologically similar, co-occurring native species through distinct pathways, necessitating species-specific management actions.Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 24, 2022
Glaciers are important drivers of environmental heterogeneity and biological diversity across mountain landscapes. Worldwide, glaciers are receding rapidly due to climate change, with important consequences for biodiversity in mountain ecosystems. However, the effects of glacier loss on biodiversity have never been quantified across a mountainous region, primarily due to a lack of adequate data at large spatial and temporal scales. Here, we combine high-resolution biological and glacier change (ca. 1850–2015) datasets for Glacier National Park, USA, to test the prediction that glacier retreat reduces biodiversity in mountain ecosystems through the loss of uniquely adapted meltwater stream species. We identified a specialized cold-water invertebrate community restricted to the highest elevation streams primarily below glaciers, but also snowfields and groundwater springs. We show that this community and endemic species have unexpectedly persisted in cold, high-elevation sites, even in catchments that have not been glaciated in ∼170 y. Future projections suggest substantial declines in suitable habitat, but not necessarily loss of this community with the complete disappearance of glaciers. Our findings demonstrate that high-elevation streams fed by snow and other cold-water sources continue to serve as critical climate refugia for mountain biodiversity even after glaciers disappear.
Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 22, 2023