Contact: Brian Robinson, (207) 581-2174
ORONO – University of UMaine anthropologist Brian Robinson and colleagues are looking at archaeological evidence of Atlantic salmon to better understand the effects of global warming.
The researchers found traces of Atlantic salmon from 400, 3,000 and 6,000 years ago, with the earliest periods being warmer than present and relatively wet. New England climate predictions are for increased year-round temperatures, greater late-summer evaporation and increased precipitation in the spring, winter and fall.
The good news is that salmon did occur in Maine when the climate was warmer, but that also was a time when Maine rivers were free of dams and fish could go farther upstream to spawn in cooler waters.
If climate projections are correct, the ability of the Atlantic salmon to survive and reproduce may depend on timing of migrations and availability of upstream locales with sufficient flow and low enough temperatures to allow reproduction and feeding, according to Robinson.
The researchers’ findings were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.