Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 92, Issue 2, pp 267–273 | Cite as

An assessment of parasite infestation rates of juvenile sockeye salmon after 50 years of climate warming in southwest Alaska



Climate change has produced disproportionate levels of warming in high latitude ecosystems. A critical challenge is to understand how changes in temperature will mediate ecological processes, such as disease. Several authors have suggested that warming will increase prevalence of diseases at high latitudes, yet long-term studies are lacking. We evaluated how parasite abundance and prevalence in an ecologically and economically important species (juvenile sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka) has changed in an Alaskan watershed that has experienced substantial climatic change over the past half-century. We hypothesized that the average increase in summer water temperature of 1.9°C over the past 46 years in our study system would have resulted in a corresponding increase in fish metabolism, and thus potential consumption rates, that would increase infestation rates of the tapeworm Triaenophorus crassus. However, our comparison of data from 1948–1960 to 2008–2009 provided no evidence that the parasite load in juvenile sockeye salmon has significantly changed and that there is no significant relationship between summer temperature and average infestation rates. Climatic projections for southwest Alaska forecast a continuation of the current warming trend, which could potentially have effects on our studied parasite-host interaction, but thus far we found no change in infestation rates over the last 60 years.


Climate change Parasitism Triaenophorus crassus Bristol Bay High latitude regions Parasite-host interactions 


  1. ACIA (2005) Arctic climate impact assessment – special report. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker TT, Fair LF, Clark RA, Hasbrouck JJ (2006) Review of salmon escapement goals in Bristol Bay, 2006. Fisheries manuscript number 06–05. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Anchorage, Alaska, USAGoogle Scholar
  3. Brett JR (1971) Energetic responses of salmon to temperature. A study of some thermal relations in physiology and freshwater ecology of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Am Zool 11:99–113Google Scholar
  4. Bruno JF, Selig ER, Casey KS, Page CA, Willis BL, Harvell CD, Sweatman H, Melendy AM (2007) Thermal stress and coral cover as drivers of coral disease outbreaks. PLoS Biol 5:1220–1227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burgner RL (1962) Studies of red salmon smolts from the Wood River Lakes, Alaska. In: Koo TSY (ed) Studies of Alaska red salmon. University of Washington Publications in Fisheries, New Series 1, Seattle, pp 247–314Google Scholar
  6. Carter JL (2010) Responses of zooplankton populations to four decades of climate warming in lakes of southwestern Alaska. M.S. Thesis, University of WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  7. Christensen JH, Hewitson B, Busuioc A, Chen A, Gao X, Held I, Jones R, Kolli RK, Kwon WT, Laprise R, Magaña Rueda V, Mearns L, Menéndez CG, Räisänen J, Rinke A, Sarr A, Whetton P (2007) Regional Climate Projections. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  8. Crawford DL (2001) Bristol Bay sockeye smolt studies for 2001. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Regional Information Rep. 2A01-27, Anchorage, Alaska, USAGoogle Scholar
  9. Elliott JM, Persson L (1978) The estimation of daily rates of food consumption for fish. Journal of Anim Ecol 47:977–991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Harvell CD, Mitchell CE, Ward JR, Altizer S, Dobson AP, Ostfeld RS, Samuel MD (2002) Climate warming and disease risks for terrestrial and marine biota. Science 296:2158–2162PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kutz SJ, Hoberg EP, Polley L, Jenkins EJ (2005) Global warming is changing the dynamics of Arctic host-parasite systems. Proc Roy Soc 272:2571–2576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kutz SJ, Dobson AP, Hoberg EP (2009a) Where are the parasites? Science 326:1188–1189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kutz SJ, Jenkins EJ, Veitch AM, Ducrocq J, Polley L, Elkin B, Lair S (2009b) The Arctic as a model for anticipating, preventing, and mitigating climate change impacts on host-parasite interactions. Vet Parasitol 163:217–228PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mantua NJ, Hare SR (2002) The Pacific decadal oscillation. J Oceanogr 58:35–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Marcogliese DJ (2001) Implications of climate change for parasitism of animals in the aquatic environment. Can J Zool 79:1331–1352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Marcogliese DJ (2008) The implications of climate change on the parasites and infectious diseases of aquatic animals. Revue Scientifique et Technique 27:467–484PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. McGlauflin MT (2010) Influences of spawning habitat and geography: population structure and juvenile migration timing of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Wood River Lakes, Alaska. M.S. Thesis, University of WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  18. Miller RB (1952) A review of the Triaenophorus problem in Canadian lakes. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin No. 95Google Scholar
  19. Møller AP (2009) Host–parasite interactions and vectors in the barn swallow in relation to climate change. Global Change Biol 16:1158–1170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Naiman RJ, Bilby RE, Schindler DE, Helfield JM (2002) Pacific salmon, nutrients, and the dynamics of freshwater and riparian ecosystems. Ecosystems 5:399–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Post E, Forchhammer MC, Bret-Harte MS, Callaghan TV, Christensen TR, Elberling B, Fox AD, Gilg O, Hik DS, Høye TT, Ims RA, Jeppesen E, Klein DR, Madsen J, McGuire AD, Rysgaard S, Schindler DE, Stirling I, Tamstorf MP, Tyler NJC, van der Wal R, Welker J, Wookey PA, Schmidt NM, Aastrup P (2009) Ecological dynamics across the Arctic associated with recent climate change. Science 325:1355–1358PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Poulin R, Mouritsen KN (2006) Climate change, parasitism, and the structure of intertidal ecosystems. J Helminthol 80:183–191PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pulkkinen K, Valtonen ET, Niemi A, Poikola K (1999) The influence of food competition and host specificity on the transmission of Triaenophorus crassus (Cestoda) and Cystidicola farionis (Nematoda) to Coregonus lavaretus and Coregonus albula (Pisces:Coregonidae) in Finland. International J Parasitol 29:1753–1763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rogers DE (1973) Abundance and size of juvenile sockeye salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka, and associated species in Lake Aleknagik, Alaska, in relation to their environment. Fish Bulletin 71:1061–1075Google Scholar
  25. Rosen R, Dick TA (1984) Growth and migration of plerocercoids of Triaenophorus crassus Forel and pathology in experimentally infected whitefish, Coregonus clupeaformis (Mitchell). Can J Zool 62:203–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Scheuring L (1930) Beobachtungen zur Biologie des Genus Triaenophorus und Betrachtungen uber das Jahrenzeitliche Auftreten von Bandwurmern. Z Parasitenkunde 2:157–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schindler DE, Scheuerell MD, Moore JW, Gende SM, Francis TB, Palen WJ (2003) Pacific salmon and the ecology of coastal ecosystems. Front Ecol Environ 1:31–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schindler DE, Rogers DE, Scheuerell MD, Abrey CA (2005) Effects of changing climate on zooplankton and juvenile sockeye salmon growth in southwestern Alaska. Ecol 86:198–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schindler DE, Hilborn R, Chasco B, Boatright CP, Quinn TP, Rogers LA, Webster MS (2010) Population diversity and the portfolio effect in an exploited species. Nature 465:609–613PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Aquatic and Fishery SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations