Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Maine
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Maine Project

Trophic phenotypes as eco-evolutionary mediators of resilience to climate change

August 2022 - July 2026


Participating Agencies

  • National Science Foundation

Many glacial relic populations of fishes and other taxa inhabitat small refuge habitats that are often isolated and thus presumed vulnerable to interacting abiotic and biotic factors that could compress their niche to the point of collapse. However, this outcome, and many future species range models, assume a relatively fixed species niche and do not factor in that glacial relics exhibit intraspecific trophic diversity, representing the capacity to exploit multiple alternative niches. We propose an organismal-eco-evolutionary framework for assessing the role of trophic trait diversity and change (via evolution or plasticity) in resilience to climate change, that links the genetic and plastic components of trophic trait variation, to population demography, and environmental context effects on eco-evolutionary potential. Landlocked Arctic charr in Maine, USA, are the most southern populations of this species in North America and present a powerful system to address these linkages by means of an exceptional long-term dataset of Arctic charr trait and mark-recapture data, combined with genomic analyses, movement behavior, diet and bioenergetics, food web structure analysis, limnology, and climate projection models.

Presentations Presentation Date
Trophic ontogeny of an elusive fish through eye lens stable isotope analysis. Schumacher, G.T., Murphy, C.A., Furey, N.B., Kinnison, M.T., Kronisch, G.R., Erdman, B., Peebles, E.B. Presentation for the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting. Honolulu, Hawai'i. September 15-19, 2024. September 2024
Schumacher, G.T., Murphy, C.A., Furey, N.B., Kinnison, M.T., Can trophic flexibility mitigate shifting habitat and community structure for a climate-sensitive fish? Presentation to Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, PA. June 2024
Kronisch, G.R., Furey, N.B., Kinnison, M.T., Murphy, C.A., Schumacher, G.T., Banister, T. (2024) Fine-scale Habitat Use by Landlocked Arctic Charr (Salvelinus alpinus) in a Maine, USA Lake. Presentation for OTN Symposium. Halifax, Nova Scotia. September 2024