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    Description

    Current distributions of native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in the Southern Appalachians are restricted to upper elevations by multiple factors, including habitat requirements, introduced rainbow (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and brown (Salmo trutta) trout, and other human activities. Present-day distribution of brook trout habitat is already fragmented. Increased temperatures predicted by various global warming models are likely to further limit suitable brook trout habitat. Predicted changes in hydrologic cycles may exacerbate temperature effects, and hydrologic effects on trout may differ across the region. Models of present-day trout guild distribution were used in a Geographic Information System (GIS) to examine the changes in trout distribution that might occur with temperature increase. Both suitable area and stream length for trout decrease as suitable habitat is increasingly restricted to mountaintops. Furthermore, the remaining trout habitat is likely to be even more fragmented than at present. If trout habitat becomes more fragmented under warming trends, common local extinctions may become irreversible as avenues for recolonization are eliminated.

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    Citation

    Flebbe, Patricia A. 1997. Global climate change and fragmentation of native brook trout distribution in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Proceedings of the Wild Trout VI Symposium; 1997 August 17-20; Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: 117-121.

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