Tallmon Study in International Science Press
The study is published in the July 11, 2012 edition of Nature.
A study by UAF faculty Ryan Kovach and UAS faculty David Tallmon generated several articles in the national science press. The study is published in the July 11, 2012 edition of Nature, the weekly international journal of science. It suggests climate change has altered the behavior and interactions of many plants and animals, including when fish migrate and plants flower. Organisms often deal with environmental pressures by altering traits through a process known as phenotypic plasticity, which does not require genetic changes. But many organisms will need to evolve genetic adaptations to climate change to survive, and seasonal traits such as the timing of migration are those most likely to evolve as they are genetically heritable. Ryan Kovach, a population ecologist at UAF and UAS Associate Professor of Biology David Tallmon have now investigated the genetic basis of shifts towards earlier migration times in spawning pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) in Auke Creek, a stream near Juneau. The team found that in 2010, the fish swam upstream to spawn nearly two weeks earlier than they did 40 years ago, a trend also seen in other salmon populations. Over the same period, the average temperature of the water rose by more than one degree. Articles on the study were published in the New York Times, Mother Jones and Scientific American and other print and on-line publications.