Streamwater temperatures are increasing due to urban development, removal of trees and climate warming. Increased water temperatures affect many of the ecosystem services that streams and rivers provide, such as supporting fisheries and providing clean drinking water. Temperatures also affect the suitability of habitat for stream wildlife and the underlying ecosystem processes that keep rivers healthy.
A team of River Basin Center affiliates and collaborators are investigating how rising temperatures affect stream ecosystems in a project on headwater streams in the Southern Appalachians. This collaboration between researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA), University of Alabama (UA), Coastal Carolina University (CCU), University of Connecticut (UCONN) and Virginia Tech (VT) is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The effects of increased temperature on brook trout distribution are detailed below in an ArcGIS StoryMap created by members of the team (left), along with information about how warming affects the carbon base of forested streams (right).