Department of Conservation / Waimakariri District Council

Modelling native fish species vulnerability to climate change in NZ and Waimakariri District

By explicitly modelling the biology underpinning the distribution of species, rather than correlating the presence of species with particular conditions, mechanistic, or process-based, models offer a greater capacity to forecast species responses to novel combinations of environmental conditions. However, such models require detailed field and experimental studies to quantify the mechanisms of species response to individual climatic or hydrologic events, long time series to estimate model parameters, and/or detailed species biology, data that are not always widely available for New Zealand’s (NZ) native fish species.

This project will navigate these challenges and aim to generate quantitative forecasting methods that are robust to hydro-climatic nonstationarity to forecast NZ’s freshwater fish species responses to various climate change scenarios. These will include both mechanistic models for long-term projections and statistical models for near-term forecasts of how species will respond to climate change.

Jonathan D. Tonkin
Senior Lecturer & Rutherford Discovery Fellow