Challenges for Diadromous Fishes in a Dynamic Global Environment

Learning from the Past to Predict the Future: Responses of European Diadromous Fish to Climate Change

Géraldine Lassalle, Mélanie Béguer, Laurent Beaulaton, and Éric Rochard


Abstract.—Climate change can have an effect on species distributions. The 1900 distribution and potential future distribution of diadromous fish in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East were explored using generalized additive models (GAMs) and selected habitat characteristics of 196 basins. Robust presence–absence models were built for 20 of the 28 diadromous species in the study area using longitude, annual temperature, drainage surface area, annual precipitation, and source elevation as explanatory variables. Inspection of the relationship between each variable and species presence–absence revealed that the GAMs were generally interpretable and plausible. Given the predicted rise in annual temperature in climate models ranging between 1°C and 7°C by 2100, the fish species were classified according to those losing suitable basins, those gaining suitable basins, and those showing little or no change. It was found that the climate envelopes based on temperature and precipitation for diadromous species would, in general, be shifted farther northeastwards by 2100, and these shifting ranges were comparable with those assessed in other studies. The uncertain future of some species was highlighted, and it was concluded that conservation policy and management plans will need to be revised in the face of climate change.