This presentation is part of the Cape Perpetua Speaker Series, hosted by the Cape Perpetua Collaborative.

Over the millennia, diverse and changing environments led to the mix of native species that now occupy our rivers, oceans, and lands. Native aquatic species are adapted to survive in the range of environmental conditions present in their natural habitats. This adaptation reflects past survival and reproduction by members of the population. In the Pacific Northwest, few species have such diverse behaviors as salmonids. This reflects the complexity of their genetic lineage and allows them to survive in remarkably variable and dynamic stream conditions. One questions scientists are asking is how well salmonids will survive under future climates that may affect their habitats from small headwater streams to salty tidal channels. For species like Pacific salmonids who use habitats from mountains to sea, we would expect different effects from future climate. What we don’t know, is whether our native species have enough adaptive resilience to survive the potentially confounding effects of a changing climate across these varied environments. In this talk, Dr. Flitcroft will discuss the development and adaptation of Pacific salmon to Northwest stream environments, and some of the changes we may expect to see in the future.

Dr Rebecca Flitcroft is a Research Fish Biologist with the United States Forest Service at the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Oregon, USA, and co-chair of the Freshwater Specialist Group with the World Commission on Protected Areas. Dr. Flitcroft received her doctorate in Fisheries Science and Masters of Science in Natural Resource Geography from Oregon State University, and completed her undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Economics at Willamette University. Her current research focuses on Pacific salmonids, multiscale aquatic ecosystem assessments over time, effects of disturbances on aquatic ecosystems and native biota, community-based conservation planning, and aquatic biodiversity. Dr. Flitcroft particularly enjoys opportunities to work in multi-disciplinary groups that allow the complexity of the natural world to be more fully represented in research questions and studies. In her work, she has collaborated with federal, state, private and non-profit organizations to develop scientifically rigorous approaches to catchment management.


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