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Evolutionary History, Habitat Disturbance Regimes, and Anthropogenic Changes: What Do These Mean for Resilience of Pacific Salmon Populations?

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Waples, Robin S.; Beechie, Tim; Pess, George R.
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 14
Date: 2009
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3273
Sector: Fisheries
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: North America
Subject(s): climate change
Abstract: "Because resilience of a biological system is a product of its evolutionary history, the historical template that describes the relationships between species and their dynamic habitats is an important point of reference. Habitats used by Pacific salmon have been quite variable throughout their evolutionary history, and these habitats can be characterized by four key attributes of disturbance regimes: frequency, magnitude, duration, and predictability. Over the past two centuries, major anthropogenic changes to salmon ecosystems have dramatically altered disturbance regimes that the species experience. To the extent that these disturbance regimes assume characteristics outside the range of the historical template, resilience of salmon populations might be compromised. We discuss anthropogenic changes that are particularly likely to compromise resilience of Pacific salmon and management actions that could help bring the current patterns of disturbance regimes more in line with the historical template."

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