NC1189: Understanding and managing scale and connectivity in inland and marine fisheries as coupled human and natural systems

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Active

NC1189: Understanding and managing scale and connectivity in inland and marine fisheries as coupled human and natural systems

Duration: 10/01/2022 to 09/30/2027

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Non-Technical Summary

Statement of Issues and Justification

Across the globe, agencies are charged with managing inland and marine fisheries to promote their conservation and sustainable use into the future.  Fisheries themselves are diverse, including large-scale commercial operations in marine environments, large rivers, and large lakes; recreational fisheries in waterbodies across the United States; and subsistence fisheries that can directly support livelihoods and food security of rural populations.  Additionally, agencies charged with managing these fisheries operate at a variety of scales (local, regional, global) and have varying responsibilities.  However, in spite of their differences, all share one common goal:  to understand the condition of and limits to the fisheries that they are charged with managing.  While this is a global need, here in the United States, examples of agencies responsible for the Nation’s fisheries include state departments of natural resources, federal natural resource management agencies, tribes, international agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), to name a few.


Inland and marine fisheries are considered coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) in which humans and nature are linked via reciprocal interactions that operate at local, regional, and global scales. For example, fish populations are affected by natural factors and human users, producing impacts that, in turn, affect ecosystems and economies alike.  Unfortunately, the connection to human systems makes fisheries highly vulnerable to many different threats such as over-exploitation, invasive species and disease, and landscape stressors, including human land uses such as urbanization and agriculture as well as changing climate.  Additionally, due to our globalizing economy, the scale over which fisheries and human systems are connected is expanding and growing in complexity.  Because of these challenges, and because of the fact that inland and marine fisheries are central to food security, nutrition, and livelihoods globally, understanding the connections and the scale at which natural and human factors can affect fisheries is essential for their sustainable management and productivity.


The overall goal of this project will be to determine how fisheries function as CHANS, with a specific focus on understanding connectivity among fisheries systems with their natural and human processes over the scales at which they operate.  Specific objectives of our effort will include 1) collecting and analyzing ecological and/or socioeconomic data that will help inform scale dynamics and connectivities, 2) developing and evaluating emerging frameworks that address the complexities of scale and connectivities in CHANS such as telecoupling and metacoupling, 3) working in partnership with state, federal, tribal, NGO, industry and other groups to enhance their capacity to address complex scale and connectivity challenges in CHANS, and 4) using findings to address the issues of environmental justice and to inform policy related to equity and the conservation of US water and fisheries resources.  This proposed research on fisheries as coupled human and natural systems focuses on multiscalar social-ecological interactions that have rarely been studied in fisheries science. Without this important work to integrate fisheries as ecosystems and human systems, fisheries managers will not be appropriately equipped to address the diverse social-ecological tradeoffs and complexities that pervade fisheries management and governance. As stressors like climate change, land-use alteration, and species invasion continue to impact our fisheries resources, there is a pressing need for research on fisheries as coupled human and natural systems to address the challenges before us—challenges that are simultaneously social and ecological and hence require integrated social-ecological solutions.


The advantage in addressing this challenge as a multistate effort stems from the fact that US fisheries are highly diverse and represent multi-scale systems requiring a rich set of intellectual expertise and data to fully understand these systems and allow for enhanced management value to society, locally, regionally and globally.  Our multistate team represents such a diverse group of scientists with expertise in the ecological and social sciences that are ideally suited to investigate the complex issues threatening sustainable management of diverse fisheries.  We have expertise in inland and marine fisheries and expertise using the CHANS approach to address the socio-economic and ecological problems related to the diversity and scale of fisheries and aquatic resource problems and opportunities. Additionally, this team of scientists and practitioners have a history of working effectively together.


Besides yielding greater understanding of inland and marine fisheries and aquatic resources from a CHANS perspective, important outcomes of this work will include the dissemination of key findings on influences to fisheries to natural resource management agencies (Objective 3) and using findings to inform policy related to water and fisheries conservation (Objective 4).  The experience of our multistate research teams and the strength of our relationships with the natural resource management community positions our group to make important recommendations to aid in productive and sustainable management of inland and marine fisheries into the future.

Related, Current and Previous Work

This project builds on previous work conducted through a multistate project that occurred from 2016 through 2021 titled, “Understanding the Ecological and Social Constraints to Achieving Sustainable Fisheries Resource Policy and Management.”  Our project team, which includes new members as well as many participants from our previous effort, has a diverse range of expertise.  We purposefully developed objectives that are interdisciplinary, multiscalar, and difficult to address, and our complex, integrated objectives require many years of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. As such, our objectives are similar to the previous iteration of the NC1189 project. Based on the success of previous NC1189 research (e.g., Carlson et al. 2019, 2022), we believe that our team is well positioned to continue addressing our objectives, and in some cases, expanding on previous work, to advance knowledge of fisheries as coupled human and natural systems.


Objective 1 from previous project: Foster a collaborative, coupled human and natural systems research framework to assess the ecological and socioeconomic effects of climate change and invasive species on inland fisheries and aquatic resources.


Over the last 5 years, understanding of fisheries as coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) has evolved substantially.  Examples of advances include a richer understanding of scale dynamics in fisheries CHANS (including how influences may occur over long distances and how they may operate over multiple scales) along with deeper understanding of connectivities among varied influences.  The CHANS framework is built from the idea of metacoupling which broadly describes human-nature interactions across space.  The first metacoupling study was published by Liu in 2017, and Carlson et al. (2020) showed the value of using the framework to study salmonid fisheries in Michigan.  Recognition of the applicability of a metacoupling approach for conservation of inland fisheries has also advanced in recent years.  Through insights gained by assessing causes and effects of social-ecological linkages occurring across multiple scales to affect fisheries, management actions may be applied that address issues originating beyond typical study regions (Carlson et al. 2020).  For our proposed project, we expect to investigate additional fisheries as CHANS, with targeted attention to understanding effects of invasive species and changing climate.


Objective 2 from previous project:  Analyze the ecological, environmental and socioeconomic factors which mitigate or exacerbate the introduction, establishment, or effects of invasive species and climate change effects at multiple spatial and ecological scales.




Objective 3 from previous project:  Determine the socioeconomic and environmental factors that influence the ways in which individuals and organizations respond to invasive species and climate change and the likely consequences of those responses for effective inland fisheries and aquatic resource management.


Multiple advances in assembling datasets to investigate fisheries CHANS occurred through the previous effort, and additional datasets have been made available through recent efforts (see the Methods section of this proposal for multiple examples).  These data, linked to a common spatial framework, will form the basis for building on work conducted through Objectives 2 and 3 of the previous project, and new analyses will also be informed by findings from manuscripts published through the previous multistate project.  For example, Carlson et al. (2019) describe the perceptions of leadership from state fisheries management agencies and agricultural experiment stations regarding freshwater fisheries, including perceived threats along with willingness to invest to reduce threats.  These groups acknowledged that recreational and socioeconomic benefits of inland fisheries were generally more important than nutritional and commercial benefits, and they also indicated that the greatest perceived threats to fisheries at the time the survey was conducted include land use change/habitat degradation, water quality impairment, and invasive species.  Climate change, however, was not ranked highly by the respondents  An outcome of that manuscript was a call to emphasize the importance of additional research, policy, and management to address changing climate (e.g., Paukert et al. 2016), along with a set of strategies derived from survey findings that would contribute to more resilient fisheries  Recommendations included 1) expanding partnerships between state agencies, agricultural experiment stations, and other state, federal, tribal and NGO partnerships and 2) empowering state agencies and agricultural experience stations to learn and implement novel fisheries research and management approaches.  Collectively, these findings show the value of the work that we propose to do with this project, including investigating fisheries as CHANS with a focus on invasive species and climate change, conducting our work in partnership with agencies, and prioritizing the policy implications of our findings.


As additional justification, Carlson et al. (2022) described results of a survey of state fishery agency administrators and leadership from the American Fisheries Society regarding a set of recommendations developed through a conference intended to increase the visibility of inland fisheries as contributing to human health and well-being globally.  The survey assessed their perceptions about the importance and achievability of recommendations developed through that conference (referred to as Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries).  Collectively, the survey showed that using science-based approaches for fishery management, improving assessments of biological production, and improving communication among freshwater users were important and achievable steps.  However, the survey also showed that leaders thought that developing collaborative and sustainable approaches to water resource development agendas and correctly valuing inland aquatic ecosystems were inadequately funded and would be difficult to achieve.  These findings in particular call for the type of research we are proposing to conduct through this proposal, including investigating fisheries CHANS and working in close partnership with agencies.


Given the scope of the problem that we propose to address, our multistate team is ideally suited for this research.  Our team members have a wide range of experience and knowledge of both inland and marine fisheries occurring across the US, with areas of research expertise including ecology, human dimensions, and policy.  Additionally, while many team members work in academia, we also have members who work for management agencies.  Because of this, our team members represent a network of experts with contacts across the US in state, tribal, and federal fisheries management agencies as well as with academic and government researchers.  Recruitment of some of our team members occurred through a symposium held at the annual American Fisheries Society meeting in Quebec City in 2014.  The symposium focused on communicating the value of inland fisheries, using interdisciplinary approaches to balance stakeholder demands, integrating new knowledge and technology, and more effective fisheries regulations enforcement.  New members recruited since then were encouraged to participate based on their experience with new analytical approaches for investigating fisheries CHANS or due to their expertise in human dimensions and policy.


It should also be noted that a recent search of current multi-state projects revealed no other projects with a primary focus on fish or fisheries.  The closest project identified, titled “Management and Policy Challenges in a Water-Scarce World” shares some similarity in approach to ours, which is to understand broad relationships between water resources and human systems.  Additionally, findings from that project related to impacts to habitats that support fish and fisheries could inform our own efforts.


  1. Collecting and analyzing ecological and/or socioeconomic data to inform understanding of connectivities among and within human and natural systems as well as system dynamics across multiple scales. These data will serve as the basis for applying a coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) approach in the following objectives.
  2. Developing and evaluating emerging frameworks that address the complexities of scale and connectivities in CHANS such as telecoupling and metacoupling.
  3. Working in partnership with state, federal, tribal, NGO, industry and other groups to enhance their capacity to address complex scale and connectivity challenges in CHANS.
  4. Using findings to address the issues of environmental justice and to inform policy related to equity and the conservation of US water and fisheries resources.


Here we outline various methods and data sets that will contribute to achieving the project’s major objectives.


Objective 1: Collecting and analyzing ecological and/or socioeconomic data that will help inform scale dynamics and connectivities.


Our CHANS research approach will involve collecting and integrating data on individual fish species, fish populations and communities, and human users across local, regional, and national scales. For instance, we will address Objective 1 by collating inland fisheries data collected from thousands of stream reaches across the conterminous US that indicate relative abundances of stream fish species comprising assemblages.  This step leverages a dataset developed with support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the US Geological Survey and includes information from over 53,000 stream reaches across the US, with thousands of samples from streams and rivers in the North Central Division region.  These data were collected by state and federal natural resource management agencies using comparable methodologies (i.e., single pass electrofishing surveys), and they represent one of the most comprehensive, large-scale fish datasets currently available in the US.  In addition, we will summarize natural landscape factors and anthropogenic stressors (including current and projected future climate factors) within stream catchments and buffers for all streams in the conterminous US. Earlier versions of these data have been described in previous work and leveraged from multiple on-going projects supported by the US Geological Survey and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and this effort will result in enhancement of existing datasets (e.g., Daniel et al. 2015; Cooper et al. 2017; Tsang et al. 2021).


We will also leverage long-term and large-scale fish population datasets that several members of the NC1189 team are involved with. These datasets are rare assets for analysis of spatial and temporal scale dynamics in nature. Examples of such datasets include 20 years of data collection on an Arctic fish population at the southern limit of the species range; sportfish and prey fish community responses to 20 years of suppressing invasive smallmouth bass in replicate lakes in New York’s Adirondack Park; population genetic data from hundreds of Brook Trout populations across Maine and the northern part of the species’ USA range; data describing fish assemblages in lakes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; information on nearshore fish populations in the Laurentian Great Lakes; and large scale mark-recapture data on threatened Shortnose Sturgeon and Atlantic Sturgeon populations on the East Coast. Development of these data have been leveraged from projects supported by federal and state agencies, and these datasets can be used to understand connectivity and scale questions such as: At what temporal scale are southern limit species responding to climate? How are fish populations in large drainage networks connected via gene flow and human activities like stocking? How is recovery of threatened populations monitored and understood at local versus coastwide scales?


We will also capitalize on environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches that have expanded dramatically in recent years and become a powerful tool for studying, monitoring, and managing inland and marine fisheries resources at diverse spatial and temporal scales. We will develop new eDNA-based tools for studying regional, national, and international inland and marine species of interest. This will include tools for high sensitivity detection of particular focal taxa using approaches based on quantitative PCR (qPCR) and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), as well as tools for characterizing broader taxonomic assemblages (e.g., fish, zooplankton, algae) using next generation sequencing technologies like eDNA metabarcoding. We will, in turn, apply these tools to study the population and community dynamics of native, invasive, and cultured species across space and time, including mapping rare species of management concern and adapting eDNA to inferences of historical baselines preserved in lake and marine sediments.


Understanding scale dynamics and connectivities in fisheries will also require information on anglers. To support this need, we will collect individual angler data, including demographic characteristics, economic characteristics, targeted species, and fishing location. For some of our study areas, individual-level data are available, whereas in others, we will use aggregate, population-level statistics, such as those in the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreational and state fishing license databases.


Fish stocking also represents an important mechanism whereby humans influence fish populations. Indeed, there are many systems in which managers simultaneously stock some species and suppress others, creating multiple pathways by which human interventions alter the fish community available to anglers. In most U.S. states, fish stocking events are not evaluated relative to their success or ecological/socioeconomic impacts due to financial constraints. As such, it is important to use preexisting creel and angler license data collected by state management agencies to evaluate the impacts of stoking event type, amount, timing, and related factors. We will conduct such assessments as part of this project, providing managers with useful information for planning future stocking events and maximizing returns to the angling community.


Understanding fisheries CHANS also requires understanding how individual fish, and fish populations and communities, respond to environmental change (e.g., climate change), and how those responses impact anglers. We will collect data on the behavioral and physiological responses of game fishes to anthropogenic stressors and develop models to assess implications for anglers and managers. For example, fish are now experiencing multiple stressors such as elevated temperature and hypoxia, the combination of which is expected to influence fish activity and behavior, which, in turn, will influence vulnerability to angling (e.g., Lennox et al. 2017).


Many of the patterns observed in fisheries at large scales (e.g., patterns of abundance and assemblage structure) result from cumulative impacts on individual fish that occur at smaller spatial scales. As such it is important to quantify how individual fishes respond to anthropogenic, ecological, and climate-related stressors to better inform processes observed at the population- or landscape-scale. To accomplish this, individual fish will first be exposed to a number of different stressors that include thermal challenges, turbidity levels, and food availability. Following exposure to these challenges, responses such as predator-prey dynamics, behavior/personality, response to angling, and swimming ability will be quantified. In this way, it will be possible to develop hypotheses related to how natural and human-related factors can impact fish populations.


Finally, a key aspect of scale dynamics and connectivities in fisheries relates to the movement and activity of individual fish and fish populations in the wild. To address questions related to fish movement, we will conduct fish telemetry studies, with an emphasis on understanding factors that influence the movement and thermal habitat selection of a number of fish species. This series of studies will help enhance our ability to predict movement of fish populations that can drive fish distribution patterns and influence angler distribution and effort, catch, and harvest dynamics.


Objective 2: Developing and evaluating emerging frameworks that address the complexities of scale and connectivities in CHANS such as telecoupling and metacoupling.


We will use emerging methods in fisheries and aquatic science to link the ecological and socioeconomic components of fisheries CHANS and provide insights on associated scale dynamics and connectivities. The telecoupling and metacoupling frameworks are two key approaches for achieving Objective 2, and indeed all of the objectives of this project. Briefly, telecouplings are socioeconomic and environmental interactions among CHANS over long distances (e.g., between distant nations), whereas metacouplings are human-nature interactions that occur simultaneously within individual CHANS and between adjacent and distant CHANS (Liu et al. 2013, 2017). A major advantage of the telecoupling and metacoupling frameworks relative to previous monothematic (i.e., solely ecologically or socioeconomically focused) research paradigms is the ability to holistically answer fundamental questions about fisheries (i.e., who, what, when, where, why, and how?) and qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate movements of fish products and fisheries finances, information, and stakeholders among CHANS.


To determine how fisheries function as CHANS and use this information to enhance fisheries productivity and sustainability, we will conduct a variety of research projects focused on fisheries telecouplings and metacouplings. For example, we will study how movements of fishmeal, fish oil, money, information, and people affect the productivity and sustainability of the Peruvian Anchoveta fishery and associated food (e.g., wheat) markets and value chains throughout the world. We will also investigate fisheries telecouplings in the Great Lakes salmonine fishery (e.g., movements of fish, money, information, people within and beyond the Great Lakes basin), emphasizing ways in which CHANS knowledge can be applied to improve fisheries productivity and management.


Aquatic invasive species are compelling subjects for CHANS research because many invaders were introduced via telecoupled and metacoupled movements. For instance, zebra mussels entered the Great Lakes via ballast water from transatlantic ships, and nonnative fish entered inland and marine ecosystems in Florida due to ornamental fish trade and illegal introductions. In both instances, it is important to define the factors that promote movement so that range expansion models can be developed and future movement patterns can be shared with relevant stakeholders. Field work on these topics will involve telemetry with a number of fish species tagged, allowing data to be collected on movement patterns and activity in response to thermal challenges and competition with other species. Work in this area will also include developing novel tools that prevent the spread of invasive fishes into new areas, exploring technologies such as bubble barriers and turbulence barriers, and investigating how environmental factors (including contaminants) can influence fish movement patterns. CHANS research must also account for deliberate efforts to remove or suppress invasive species, and our project will include investigations of the fishery outcomes of food web shifts arising from long-term suppression of invaders. Overall, social-ecological data necessary for fisheries telecoupling/metacoupling studies will arise from a variety of sources (e.g., literature reviews, field based research programs in conjunction with state, federal and tribal fisheries agencies, household survey/interview data, fish catch tonnage/value/trade data from the global fisheries databases).


As overarching paradigms for our proposed research, the telecoupling and metacoupling frameworks are conducive to performing a number of specific social-ecological research methodologies. For instance, we will use comparative case studies to evaluate and compare telecouplings in inland (e.g., Great Lakes salmonine, Adirondack brook trout) and marine (e.g., Peruvian anchoveta) fisheries. Similarities and differences between human-nature couplings in inland and marine fisheries have not been formally identified before, so our research will generate important social-ecological insights for fisheries management and governance in diverse realms. In addition, by allowing us to identify the systems, flows, agents, causes, and effects associated with fisheries social-ecological linkages, the telecoupling and metacoupling frameworks will yield information for complex systems modeling, including systems thinking and systems dynamics approaches as well as agent-based models and social network analyses. We will develop these models to provide insights into the causes and consequences of fisheries telecouplings, allowing us to predict future social-ecological conditions in fisheries and thereby develop informed, robust strategies for fisheries management, governance, and sustainability.


Telecoupling and metacoupling studies will lay a foundation for additional assessments of fisheries scale dynamics and connectivities. For instance, we will identify associations between the presence of fish species and changes in the numbers of fishes with natural and anthropogenic landscape factors. This work will build on modeling and assessment efforts described in previous work (e.g., Cooper et al. 2019, Yu et al. 2020), and a first step will be to characterize biases in how representations of stream fishes span a gradient in conditions across the U.S. (following Deweber et al. 2014)


Another framework area addressing scale, connectivity, and complexity in CHANS systems is eco-evolutionary dynamics. Eco-evolutionary dynamics involve the reciprocal interactions of ongoing evolution and ecological processes in contemporary time. Research in this area has advanced from early work understanding the ecological consequences of genetic variation (e.g., in fish populations), to more recent work examining mutual feedbacks and eco-evolutionary potential in complex networks. Although this area of research has developed from a more ecological theory perspective, it is now being applied in the context of human activities that drive ecological and evolutionary change (e.g., harvest, climate change, invasive species, urbanization, eutrophication) and alter interactions between ecology and evolution (e.g., species losses and gains, habitat fragmentation).


Using a conservation physiology approach, we will also investigate the complex linkages among fish responses to environmental change and the concomitant changes in angler behavior. This approach scales across levels of biological organization – from the individual fish to population and community levels – and links human use and management of the resource, especially as animals face rapidly changing and less predictable environmental conditions (Ames et al. 2020).


Objective 3: Working in partnership with state, federal, tribal, NGO, industry and other groups to enhance their capacity to address complex scale and connectivity challenges in CHANS.


We will work with universities, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, including Cooperative Research Units housed at land-grant universities across the country, to generate and disseminate data on the effects of landscape factors and fisheries management actions on anglers. Collaborative work with partners and stakeholders will involve co-developing key research questions, training participants in new technologies like eDNA that can increase efficiency or participation in fisheries data gathering at relevant scales, and helping participants develop policies that are resilient to uncertainty in a changing world. This work will address a key information gap on the consequences of landscape and fisheries change on angler behaviors and values, while providing novel information on fisheries scale dynamics and connectivities.


Objective 4: Using findings to address the issues of environmental justice and to inform policy related to equity and the conservation of U.S. water and fisheries resources


Equity and environmental justice are crucial issues in fisheries science, management, and conservation that warrant increased recognition and integration into all aspects of the fisheries profession. Members of the NC1189 partnership have considerable experience conducting human dimensions research, including projects involving equity and environmental justice components. This expertise will allow us to continue current research and launch new studies focused on improving the ways in which equity and environmental justice are incorporated into fisheries management and governance. For instance, in the area of eDNA research, we are currently working with tribes to develop biocultural labeling schemes to provide pathways for recognizing indigenous rights to biodiversity data collected by their members or on tribal lands. We are also equipping tribes, NGOs, fisher groups, and others who have often faced a large science data disparity relative to resource agencies, with eDNA capacity that enables them to participate more collaboratively in fisheries monitoring and policy negotiations. This includes the ability to contribute to monitoring of threatened species (e.g., ESA listed salmon or sturgeon), that has historically been very restricted due to the potential for take or harm.


Our work with contaminants will also be viewed through the lens of environmental justice arising from differential exposure of different angler groups to toxic chemicals.  Consumption advisories are generally based solely on the available data from a species and waterbody, but the underlying contamination may be strongly mediated by food web processes, community composition, and environmental shifts arising from global climate change.  Educating the public about the connections between these environmental controls and food safety is central to achieving equity in food systems that draw upon wild fish and game, because groups of consumers vary widely in their awareness of risks, access to alternatives, and dependence on contaminated natural resources.


We plan to write a synthesis manuscript focused on the current and future status of equity and environmental justice in the fisheries profession, describing pathways for ensuring that all voices are heard and all perspectives are represented in fisheries decision-making. This collaborative paper will continue our momentum of publishing high-visibility, thought provoking research in Fisheries, the flagship journal of the American Fisheries Society, and related outlets (e.g., Carlson et al. 2019, Carlson et al.2022). Addressing the injustices of the past and rebuilding trust with indigenous communities will be a challenge for the fisheries profession, yet it is critical for attaining sustainable, accessible, and equitable fisheries.


Additionally, through connections of many of our team members to the fisheries management communities at the state, federal, and tribal levels, the likelihood of informing policy and management will be great.  Our efforts to leverage data and results from related projects will serve as a catalyst for providing information from this project back to the management community, ensuring that important findings are used.  Additionally, many members of our project team hold leadership positions within the American Fisheries Society, a professional organization that increasingly weighs in on important policy decisions relevant to fisheries globally (i.e., see Colvin et al. 2019 as one example).  Our team’s connection to AFS will provide an important conduit for our work to inform policy. We have also added members of fisheries management agencies to our team to ensure that our research has tangible linkages to applied fisheries issues.

Measurement of Progress and Results


  • Research framework Comments: A collaborative, coupled human and natural systems research framework for investigating interactions between invasive species, climate change, and inland and marine fisheries and aquatic resources.
  • Best practices Comments: A description of best practices for how the above framework can be applied for different fisheries.
  • Database Comments: A database that integrates biological, ecological, and socio-economic data to facilitate analyses. To the extent practical, individual datasets comprising the database will be linked to a common spatial and/or analytical framework.
  • Data needs Comments: A prioritized list of data requirements for interdisciplinary questions that cannot be answered yet due to a lack of data.
  • Assessment Comments: An updated assessment of ecological and socioeconomic effects of climate change and invasive species on inland and marine fisheries. This assessment will integrate data across disciplines to gain robust insights into climate change and invasive species problems in order to make specific interdisciplinary management recommendations for mitigating detrimental effects on fisheries.
  • Synthesis Comments: A synthesis of existing work that reveal how individual and organizational responses to invasive species and climate change affect inland fisheries and aquatic resources.
  • Meetings and workshops Comments: Meetings and workshops that convey information on how to influence individual behavior and organizational responses to invasive species and climate change in ways that benefit the management of inland fisheries and aquatic resources.
  • Publications and presentations Comments: Peer-reviewed publications, research reports, and professional presentations communicating the results of this project.

Outcomes or Projected Impacts

  • Improved tools, datasets, and guidelines for use by federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to detect, predict, and mitigate the individual and interactive effects of climate change and invasive species on fish communities and aquatic ecosystems at local, regional, and national scales.
  • Forecasting the interacting effects of climate change and invasive species on inland and marine fisheries and aquatic resources will provide policymakers with improved understanding needed to make informed decisions about coupled human and natural systems, allowing us to anticipate and minimize ecological and socioeconomic losses, as well as to potentially mitigate for any losses. Increases sustainability of recreational and commercial fisheries in light of the individual and interactive effects of climate change, invasive species, and socioeconomic factors that influence aquatic communities.
  • Better protection of inland fisheries and aquatic resources from the effects of invasive species and climate change.
  • More effective interventions to influence individual responses to invasive species and climate change.
  • Increased capacity for policy and management of inland fisheries and aquatic resources when those resources are affected by invasive species and climate change.
  • Improved communication about threats to and condition of inland and marine fisheries globally.


(2022):Convene a meeting of the research team to conduct a data inventory, report on the status of on-going projects, and plan for coordinated analyses.

(2023):Convene a meeting of the research team to refine research questions to be addressed and to report on results of data analyses conducted since 2022.

(2023):Develop a white paper describing best practices for investigating fisheries CHANS.

(2024):Hold a special symposium highlighting this research project (and relevant related work) at the Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

(2025):Submit a manuscript to a journal that broadly includes an updated assessment of ecological and socioeconomic effects of climate change and invasive species on inland and marine fisheries.

(2026):Reports, presentations, and peer-reviewed publications of research generated by this research project.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Outreach Plan

This project and associated research will be supervised by the principal investigator and conducted by NC1189 members in collaboration with graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, undergraduate assistants, and project partners (e.g., agency representatives, NC1189 Multistate partners). Hence, there will be many opportunities for formal and informal educational activities related to scale dynamics and connectivities in fisheries. For instance, personnel affiliated with Michigan State University (e.g., graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, undergraduate assistants) will perform field/laboratory research, literature reviews, and other tasks necessary for data for the proposed research while helping write peer-reviewed manuscripts and deliver conference presentations. Underserved and underrepresented communities will benefit from this project in multiple ways. For instance, we will work with tribes to develop biocultural labeling schemes to provide pathways for recognizing indigenous rights to biodiversity data collected by their members or on tribal lands. We will also equip groups that have often faced data disparities (e.g., tribes, NGOs, fisher groups) with scientific capacity that will enable them to actively participate in fisheries monitoring and policy negotiations.  Also, our objective to work in partnership with state, federal, tribal, non-governmental organizations, industry, and other groups, will help to ensure that outcomes of our research will be directly applicable to these groups and that policy implications can be clearly identified and communicated.  Additionally, multiple members of our project team are members of the American Fisheries Society.  We anticipate that the annual meetings held in support of this group will be provide an opportunity for our team to meet, and they will also serve as an important venue for sharing project findings.  In fact, we are currently planning to host a symposium at the 2024 annual meeting as one example.



The recommended Standard Governance for multistate research activities include the election of a Chair, a Chair-elect, and a Secretary. All officers are to be elected for at least two-year terms to provide continuity. Administrative guidance will be provided by an assigned Administrative Advisor and a NIFA Representative.

Literature Cited

Ames, E. M., M. R. Gade, C. L. Nieman, J. R. Wright, C. M. Tonra, C. M Marroquin, A. M. Tutterow, and S. M. Gray. 2020. Striving for population-level conservation: integrating physiology across the biological hierarchy. Conservation Physiology 8:coaa019.


Carlson, A. K., W. W. Taylor, D. R. DeVries, C. P. Ferreri, M. J. Fogarty, K. J. Hartman, D. M. Infante, M. T. Kinnison, S. A. Levin, R. T. Melstrom, R. M. Newman, M. L. Pinsky, D. I. Rubenstein, S. M. P. Sullivan, P. A. Venturelli, M. J. Weber, M. R. Wuellner, G. B. Zydlewski. 2022. Stepping up: A U.S. perspective on the Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries. Fisheries 47(2):68–77.


Carlson, A. K., W. W. Taylor, and S. M. Hughes. 2020. The metacoupling framework informs salmonid management and governance. Frontiers in Environmental Science 8:10.3389/fenvs.2020.00027 .


Carlson, A. K., W. W. Taylor, M. T. Kinnison, S. M. P. Sullivan, M. J. Weber, R. T. Melstrom, P. A. Venturelli, M. R. Wuellner, R. M. Newman, K. J. Hartman, G. B. Zydlewski, D. R. DeVries, S. M. Gray, D. M. Infante, M. A. Pegg, R. M. Harrell. 2019. Threats to freshwater fisheries in the United States: perspectives and investments of state fisheries administrators and Agricultural Experiment Station directors. Fisheries 44(6):276-287.


Colvin, S. A. R., S. M. P. Sullivan, P. D. Shirey, R. W. Colvin, K. O. Winemiller R. M. Hughes, K. D. Fausch, D. M. Infante, J. Olden, K. R. Bestgen, R. J. Danehy, L. Eby. 2019. Headwater streams and wetlands are critical for sustaining fish, fisheries, and ecosystem services. Fisheries 44:73-91. DOI:  10.1002/fsh.10229


Cooper, A. R., D. M. Infante, W. M. Daniel, K. E. Wehrly, L. Wang, and T. O. Brenden. 2017. Assessment of dam effects on streams and fish assemblages of the conterminous USA. Science of the Total Environment 586:879–889.


Cooper, A. R., Y.-P. Tsang, D. M. Infante, W. M. Daniel, A. J. McKerrow, and D. Wieferich. 2019. Protected areas lacking for many common fluvial fishes of the conterminous USA. Diversity and Distributions 25:1289–1303.


Daniel, W. M., D. M. Infante, R. B. Hughes, Y.-P. Tsang, P. C. Esselman, D. Wieferich, K. Herreman, A. R. Cooper, L. Wang, and W. W. Taylor. 2015. Characterizing coal and mineral mines as a regional source of stress to stream fish assemblages. Ecological Indicators 50:50–61.


Deweber, J. T., Y.-P. Tsang, D. M. Krueger, J. B. Whittier, T. Wagner, D. M. Infante, and G. Whelan. 2014. Importance of understanding landscape biases in USGS gage locations: implications and solutions for managers. Fisheries 39:155–163.


Lennox, R. J., J. Alós, R. Arlinghaus, A. Horodysky, T. Kleforth, C. T. Monk, and S. J. Cooke. 2017. What makes fish vulnerable to capture by hooks? A conceptual framework and a review of key determinants. Fish and Fisheries 2017:1–25.


Liu, J. 2017. Integration across a metacoupled world. Ecology and Society 22:29.


Liu, J. G., V. Hull, M. Batistella, R. DeFries, T. Dietz, F. Fu, T. W. Hertel, R. C. Izaurralde, E. F. Lambin, S. Li, L. A. Martinelli, W. J. McConnell, E. F. Moran, R. Naylor, Z. Ouyang, K. R. Polenske, A. Reenberg, G. de Miranda Rocha, C. S. Simmons, P. H. Verburg, P. M. Vitousek, F. Zhang, and C. Zhu. 2013. Framing sustainability in a telecoupled world. Ecology and Society 18 (2):26.


Paukert, C. P., B. A. Glazer, G. J. A. Hansen, B. J. Irwin, P. C. Jacobson, J. L. Kershner, B. J. Shuter, J. E. Whitney, and A. J. Lynch. 2016. Adapting inland fisheries management to a changing climate. Fisheries 41:374–384.


Tsang Y.-P., D. M. Infante, L. Wang, D. Krueger, and D. Wieferich. 2021. Conserving stream fishes with changing climate: Assessing fish responses to changes in habitat over a large region. Science of the Total Environment 755:142503.


Yu, H., A. R. Cooper, and D. M. Infante. 2020. Improving species distribution model predictive accuracy using species abundance: Application with boosted regression trees. Ecological Modelling 432:109202.


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Loyola University, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska
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