The distinct genetic characteristics of salmon populations in Spain are being lost as a result of climate change and human interference. Losing distinct genetic characteristics means potentially losing salmon altogether in areas like Spain. One major hypothesis describing why this is occurring is humans have caused straying fish (foreign fish invading areas where salmon naturally reside). In 1992, there were an abundance of “foreign” fish being introduced to the river systems. Despite the practice being stopped, there continued to be a high number of “straying fish.” This was the beginning of a major loss of distinct genetic characteristics of Atlantic salmon in Spain.
Another impact that is also causing disruption is increased water temperature, which has been recently linked to an increase in fish straying between rivers. The influence of changes to water temperature has become increasingly important, as the loss of salmon will affect the health of bodies of water tremendously.
Title: Salmon ‘losing distinct genetic characteristics’
Author: Mark Kinver
Publication Source: BBC News
Date: October 14, 2010
Student Researcher: Katherine Ross, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Professor Caroline Christian, Sonoma State University