Indiana is home to many types of aquatic ecosystems, including lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and temporary (ephemeral) pools, which provide habitats for a wide range of plants and animals. These ecosystems will experience changes in water quantity, water temperature, ice cover, water clarity and oxygen content as the state’s temperature and rainfall patterns shift. The plants and animals living in these aquatic ecosystems will undergo changes that will vary based on the species and the specific places they inhabit.

It is challenging to know precisely how organisms will respond to changes in climate. Effects on one species create a difficult-to-predict chain reaction that potentially influences other species in the same ecosystem. Some organisms will adapt and evolve to survive, or even thrive, as the climate changes, but they will have to adjust to more than just the changes in climate. They will also respond to changes in a wide variety of other environmental factors that affect them, including invasive species, habitat destruction, contaminants, nutrient runoff, and land management decisions. While these complicated interactions make it challenging to predict the long-term fate of Indiana’s aquatic species, enough is known about climate-related stressors to help managers develop strategies to avoid the most critical outcomes, hopefully avoiding species loss.

This report from the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment (IN CCIA) uses climate projections for the state to explore the potential threats to Indiana’s aquatic ecosystems and describes potential management implications and opportunities.


Indiana, climate, climate change, freshwater ecosystems, lakes, rivers, wetlands, streams, mussels, fish, invertebrates

Date of this Version


Sponsoring Organization

Purdue Climate Change Research Center