Study: Rising Lake Superior temperatures affecting fish species

A new study shows that climate change could mean better conditions for some Lake Superior fish species, but worse for others.

Surface water temperatures on Lake Superior increased by about 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit between 1979 and 2006. That's one of the fastest rates of any lake on earth. The study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin shows that warming has created more suitable habitat in the lake for some fish, like Chinook salmon, walleye, and lean lake trout, but less favorable conditions for siscowet lake trout, a fatty fish that thrives in cold water.

Scientists mapped changes in Lake Superior water temperatures, matching them to the temperatures preferred by the four fish species. They say the temperature changes don't necessarily mean fewer siscowet will live in the lake in the future. But they do expect to see changes in the lake's food web as climate change proceeds. The study was published in PLOS One, a journal of the Public Library of Science.

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