Salmon in River

Glaciers in the Pacific Northwest of USA and Canada are melting and turning into streams of flowing fresh water. Scientists from the University of Birmingham have studied some of these new rivers and found salmon had colonised them when migrating from the ocean into rivers in order to spawn. These scientists have joined with Kara Pitman, a geomorphologist at Simon Fraser University, and colleagues from USA and Switzerland to estimate how much extra salmon habitat will become available if 315 of the thousands of glaciers in the Pacific Northwest USA and Canada melted according to current climate change models.

They estimated a potential increase in rivers of 6,150 km. This is almost the equivalent of the length of the Mississippi River. Taking into account that salmon need pristine rivers of cool flowing water with a less than 10% incline the researchers estimated the salmon habitat in this region would increase by 27%.

Kara Pitman commented: “Once conditions stabilise in the newly-formed streams, salmon can colonise these areas quite quickly. It’s a common misconception that all salmon return home to the streams they were born in. Most do, but some individuals will stray — migrating into new streams to spawn and, if conditions are favourable, the population can increase rapidly”.

Alexander Milner a river ecologist at the University of Birmingham, explained: “Colonization by salmon can occur relatively quickly after glacial retreat creates favourable spawning habitat in the new stream. For example, Stonefly Creek was colonised within 10 years by pink salmon that grew rapidly to more than 5,000 spawners. Other species also colonised including Coho and Sockeye salmon, especially where a lake is associated with the stream”.

Greg Knox, of SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, a salmon conservation organisation, commented: “It shows you how adaptive and resilient salmon are”.

References and Links: Science (AAAS) News 7 December 2021, ScienceDaily 7 December 2021, and Nature Communications 7 December 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-26897-2.

Editorial Comment: Congrats folks, you have made proper use of the term “adaptive”. Adaptation is the inbuilt ability to cope with changes in the environment, and the real history of the world tells us salmon have done this in the past and are doing it again as the environment changes.

After Noah’s Flood the surface of the earth was completely changed and new land masses, complete with new rivers, were formed. Salmon responding to an inbuilt need to spawn in freshwater found these rivers and colonised them. Most salmon return to their river of origin, but as new rivers formed as a result of earth movements and changing rainfall patterns, salmon and other living things found them and colonised them.

The ice age would have devastated the salmon population as many rivers were turned to uninhabitable glaciers. Glaciers should not be romanticised because they make picturesque landscape paintings and photos. They are destructive and barren masses of ice which devastate the landscape. As this study shows, melting glaciers allow a landscape to come back to life and provide habitat for many living things.

Some very large environmental changes have occurred since the world began, and all things currently alive, plant or animal, have coped with them or died out, but none have evolved.

“Climate change” and “melting glaciers” have been used as scare stories over the last couple of decades, but as this study shows, these changes can be for good.

Creation Research News 15 December 2021

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