A study published this week in Science found that some Fraser River sockeye are more likely to survive climate change than others.
UBC researchers studied eight populations of adult Fraser River sockeye and found that populations with the most difficult migrations were more athletic, displaying superior swimming ability and specialized heart adaptations. They also found that the optimal water temperature for a population, or temperature where the fish performed the best, matched the historical river temperatures encountered by each population on its migration routes.
“This is the first large-scale study on wild fish to show how different populations of the same species have adapted to such specific migration conditions,” says Erika Eliason, a PhD candidate in the Department of Zoology at UBC and lead author of the study. “As climate change alters the conditions of the Fraser River watershed, our concern is that some populations may not be able to adapt to these changes quickly enough to survive.” [read full article]