Glaciers have shaped past and present habitats for Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in North America. During the last glacial maximum, approximately 45% of the current North American range of Pacific salmon was covered in ice. Currently, most salmon habitat occurs in watersheds in which glacier ice is present and retreating. This synthesis examines the multiple ways that glacier retreat can influence aquatic ecosystems through the lens of Pacific salmon life cycles. We predict that the coming decades will result in areas in which salmon populations will be challenged by diminished water flows and elevated water temperatures, areas in which salmon productivity will be enhanced as downstream habitat suitability increases, and areas in which new river and lake habitat will be formed that can be colonized by anadromous salmon. Effective conservation and management of salmon habitat and populations should consider the impacts of glacier retreat and other sources of ecosystem change.

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