Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus)

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Category: Fish
Vulnerability to climate change (More details)

Moderate-
High

Climate vulnerability

Sensitivity to climate change

Moderate-
High

Pacific lamprey exhibit physiological sensitivity to warming water temperatures. Egg and ammocoete survival is lowest and larval deformations most common at 22°C relative to lower water temperatures. Warmer summer water temperatures (>20°C) have also been found to compound adult body size reductions and accelerate sexual maturation and post-spawning death the following spring. All life stages of Pacific lamprey are likely vulnerable to shifting flow regimes due to reduced snowpack, earlier snowmelt, and shifting precipitation regimes. Warmer water temperatures and low summer and fall flows can affect adult spawning migration timing (i.e., migration occurs earlier in warmer, lower flow years) and/or inhibit adult migrations upriver by constricting channels or causing thermal barriers. Reduced streamflows can also limit or degrade floodplain habitat for spawning and rearing by elevating water temperatures and/or contributing to juvenile and nest stranding and desiccation. Juvenile lamprey, which occupy low velocity stream margins, and lamprey nests, which are found in low gradient stream reaches, may also be vulnerable to scouring via winter flood events. Wildfire may also affect survival and rearing by reducing stream shading; high shade is correlated with higher lamprey ammocoete abundance. Climate-driven changes in the marine environment may also affect Pacific lamprey, but little is known about this part of their life stage.

Confidence: Moderate

Exposure to climate change

Moderate-
High

  • Increased water temperatures
  • Lower summer/fall flows
  • Increased winter flood events
  • Altered fire regimes
Confidence: Moderate

Conservation

This species is identified as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) under the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). SGCN-classified species include both those with and without legal protection status under the Federal or State Endangered Species programs, as well as game species with low populations. The WDFW SWAP is part of a nationwide effort by all 50 states and five U.S. territories to develop conservation action plans for fish, wildlife and their natural habitats—identifying opportunities for species' recovery before they are imperiled and more limited.
This species is identified as a Priority Species under WDFW's Priority Habitat and Species Program. Priority species require protective measures for their survival due to their population status, sensitivity to habitat alteration, and/or recreational, commercial, or tribal importance. The PHS program is the agency's main means of sharing fish and wildlife information with local governments, landowners, and others who use it to protect priority habitats for land use planning.