Columbia River salmon are adapting to climate change?

And how do researchers know that?

From a University of Chicago media release:

Sockeye salmon are evolving through natural selection to deal with a warming climate, according to a study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In recent decades, scientists have observed that salmon in the Columbia River are starting their migration earlier in the year. The fish now migrate upstream an average of 10 days earlier than they did in the 1940s. Researchers knew that the change was associated with warming water temperatures, but an important question remained. Is this a behavioral response in reaction to warmer water, or are the fish evolving modified behavior through mortality and natural selection? Using 60 years of water temperature records and data on salmon mortality during migration, researchers led by Dr. Lisa Crozier have determined that the latter has played an important role. According to their model, up to two thirds of the 10-day advance in spawning is explained by natural selection, with a behavioral response to changes in river flow explaining the rest. “Evidence of an evolutionary response in Columbia River sockeye salmon is good news, because it appeared to reduce their exposure to potentially lethal river temperatures in recent years,” said Dr. Crozier. “This study gives managers insight into the multiple processes that help salmon persist in the face of a changing environment, and augments our toolbox for predicting how other species might respond to similar changes.”

Sorry, but models aren’t science; they are assumptions. And it would be so difficult to show in a scientific manner that natural selection played any role as to be impossible.

3 thoughts on “Columbia River salmon are adapting to climate change?”

  1. “According to their model, up to two thirds of the 10-day advance in spawning is explained by natural selection, with a behavioral response to changes in river flow explaining the rest.” This of course has nothing whatsoever to do with the big concrete thingies crossing the river. The ones the salmon have to sim up and over in fish ladders. The ones that actually changed river flow and artificially warmed large stretches of river. The arm stretches where introduced predatory fish and native fishes benefiting from that warm water have increased in population size and predating on the salmon smolts. The ones where the warm water and slow flows cinfuses the downstream movement of smolts. The ones where the turbines chew smolts into fish chow if they get caught in them. Nope, none of that, its the climate change.

  2. The assertion that the changes in temperature are due to climate change is stated without evidence…presumably because there is none. The conclusion–that the salmon are adapting to climate change–does not follow from the evidence. It is based on a logical fallacy: the argument from ignorance…’what else could it be?’ That the salmon adapt to temperature changes might be science; that they adapt to ‘climate change’ is not.

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