Do stream fish track climate change? Assessing distribution shifts in recent decades

Année de publication



Ecography 36 1236 1246 11


Understanding the ability of species to shift their distribution ranges in response to climate change is crucial for conservation biologists and resources managers. Although freshwater ecosystems include some of the most imperilled fauna worldwide, such range shifts have been poorly documented in streams and rivers and have never been compared to the current velocity of climate change. Based on national monitoring data, we examined the distributional changes of 32 stream fish species in France and quantified potential time lags in species responses, providing a unique opportunity to analyze range shifts over recent decades of warming in freshwater environments. A multi‐facetted approach, based on several range measures along spatial gradients, allowed us to quantify range shifts of numerous species across the whole hydrographic network between an initial period (1980–1992) and a contemporary one (2003–2009), and to contrast them to the rates of isotherm shift in elevation and stream distance. Our results highlight systematic species shifts towards higher elevation and upstream, with mean shifts in range centre of 13.7 m decade−1 and 0.6 km decade−1, respectively. Fish species displayed dispersal‐driven expansions along the altitudinal gradient at their upper range limit (61.5 m decade−1), while substantial range contractions at the lower limit (6.3 km decade−1) were documented for most species along the upstream–downstream gradient. Despite being consistent with the geographic variation in climate change velocities, these patterns reveal that the majority of stream fish have not shifted at a pace sufficient to track changing climate, in particular at their range centre where range shifts lag far behind expectation. Our study provides evidence that stream fish are currently responding to recent climate warming at a greater rate than many terrestrial organisms, although not as much as needed to cope with future climate modifications.

Type de publication
  • journal
Type de document
  • article
Classification - Inist-CNRS
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
Classification - Scopus
  • 1 - Life Sciences
  • 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Classification - Science Metrix
  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - biology
  • 3 - ecology
Classification - Clarivate Analytics (Subject Category)
  • 1 - science
  • 2 - ecology
  • 2 - biodiversity conservation
Termes extraits

climate change; range shifts; altitudinal; ecol; biol; freshwater; range centre; higher elevation; ecosystem; detectability; supplementary material appendix; climatic; aquatic; isotherm; global change biol; modelling; parmesan; biodiversity; hydrographic; precipitation; lower range limits; environmental gradients; centre; elevation; tingley; species range centre; range limits; climate warming; lower elevation; contemporary surveys; overall extent; initial period; species responses; lower limit; annual temperature; time periods; distribution shifts; spatial distribution; climate velocity; freshwater biodiversity; climate change impacts; recent climate change; altitudinal gradient; species range shifts; freshwater ecosystems; initial surveys; elevation range centre; range retractions; distribution ranges; range expansion; recent decades; species distribution; sampling success; trends ecol; positive shift; isotherms shifts; french streams; upper limits; hydrographic network; aquatic systems; species distributions; upper range limit; contemporary period; french hydrographic network; environmental conditions; species; negative shift; water quality; climatic gradients; range shift; aquatic environments; large rivers; recruitment success; spatial distribution preferences; euclidean distance; species detectability; suitable habitat; aquatic ecosystems; cumulated precipitation; climatic conditions; terrestrial ecosystems; water temperature; stream lapse rates; linear regression; local populations; environmental gradient; species ranges; range descriptors; thermal regime; individual species; species vulnerability; temporal changes; sixth mass extinction; response curves; biodiversity conservation; sampling records; intermediate patterns; negative shifts; temporal trends; directional trends; upper limit; future climate; climate change velocities; geographic variation; lower range limit; climate change velocity; higher elevations; range changes; last decades; stream distance; poleward shifts; thermal stress; unique opportunity; study period; fish biol; global warming; potential time; national monitoring data; track climate change; global ecol; plant species; natl acad; climate; global; gradient

Entité nommée
Entité nommée - Emplacement géographique
  • American
  • Toulouse
  • Velocity
  • France
Entité nommée - Organisme
  • French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environment
  • French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments
Entité nommée - Personne
G. Grenouillet; B. Patterns; L. Comte; Lise Comte; Pat Pef; Monika Ghosh; Gaël Grenouillet; Ana Bba
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