Prediction of climate change effects on fish communities in the Mackinaw River watershed, Illinois, USA

E. E. Herricks, E. R. Bergner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As part of an integrated assessment of multiple sector impacts produced by predicted changes in climate we have integrated a set of models, which provide predictions of fish populations under changing flow and temperature regimes. The core of the approach is the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Physical Habitat Simulation Model (PHABSIM). PHABSIM estimates habitat conditions based on flow, which are life stage specific. The output from PHABSIM is used to model fish populations, considering both flow and a temperature threshold, which affects spawning date. Water temperatures were modelled based on air temperature. The resulting assessment tool provides the means to evaluate the effect of multiple stressors produced by climate change scenarios. The model has been used to estimate smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) populations for representative reaches of the Mackinaw River, Illinois. The model has been used to illuminate population effects of changing flow and temperature under historical climate/weather conditions, as well as under climate change scenarios. The integrated models in the assessment tool have provided a useful addition to watershed management, improving our capacity to evaluate natural resources impact at temporal scales typical of climate change, and management response systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-207
Number of pages9
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2003


  • Fish populations
  • Habitat modelling
  • Multiple stressor response
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Temperature modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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