Tryon, Danielle, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Susquehanna University, 1858 Weber Way, Selinsgrove, PA, 17870, firstname.lastname@example.org; Ressler, Dan, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Susquehanna University, 1858 Weber Way, Selinsgrove, PA, 17870, email@example.com; Ashcraft, Sara, Freshwater Research Institute Susquehanna University, 1858 Weber Way Selinsgrove PA, 17870, firstname.lastname@example.org; Wilson, Matt, Freshwater Research Institute, Susquehanna University, 1858 Weber Way, Selinsgrove, PA, 17870, email@example.com.
Climate change can cause warmer water temperatures, more extreme flows from more frequent and stronger storms, or changes to the amount of snow and timing of snow melt. Because water temperature can result in changes to organism behaviors, changes in water temperature can impact systems on a population and ecosystem level. Understanding the implications of increasing water temperature on a small scale can lead to more direction in conservation objectives. The intention of this study is to identify physical and behavioral measures of thermal stress on slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus). Studies are conducted using novel fully variable stream channels set along a temperature gradient of 10C, 16C and 22C modeling the severity of climate change. We will investigate how slimy sculpin react to changing temperature regimes through changes in body condition in length, weight, and the distribution of individuals at the conclusion of each trial. The study will also explore shifting trophic cascades via macroinvertebrate community composition, leaf decomposition, and algal growth. Through modeling thermal stress in constructed stream channels, we aim to better understand how slimy sculpin are directly impacted and how trophic cascades are modified in response to changing thermal regimes. In addition, we hope these experimental stream channels will act as an innovative model for studying climate change in the laboratory where we can adjust slope, hydrology, and thermal effects.
Constructed Stream Channels, Sculpin, Climate Change, Trophic Cascade