Costs of living for juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in an increasingly warming and invaded world.
Rapid environmental change in freshwater ecosystems has created a need to understand the interactive effects of multiple stressors, with temperature and invasive predators identified as key threats to imperiled fish species. We tested the separate and interactive effects of water temperature and predation by non-native smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) on the lethal (mortality) and sublethal (behavior, physiology, and growth) effects for juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in seminatural stream channel experiments. Over 48 h trials, there was no difference in direct predation with warmer temperatures, but significant interactive effects on sublethal responses of juvenile salmon. Warmer temperatures resulted in significantly stronger and more variable antipredator responses (surface shoaling and swimming activity), while physiological indicators (plasma glucose, plasma cortisol) suggested suppression of physiological mechanisms in response to the combined stressors. These patterns corresponded with additive negative growth in predation, temperature, and combined treatments. Our results suggest that chronic increases in temperature may not increase direct predation over short periods, but can result in significant sublethal costs with negative implications for long-term development, disease resistance, and subsequent size-selective mortality of Pacific salmon.