Aquatic ecosystems continue to be increasingly affected by climate warming. For salmonids in the Pacific Northwest of North America, increasing temperatures pose tighter thermal constraints on their habitat use as well as aspects of their individual performance, such as disease resistance. This thesis examines the effect of temperature on the phenology of the Ceratomyxa shasta life cycle, the effect of thermal refugia on disease risk in juvenile salmonids in the Klamath River, CA, and the spatial and temporal distribution of C. shasta in the Willamette River, OR. We developed a biological model that predicts an acceleration of the C. shasta life cycle development due to climate shifts in the Klamath River, resulting in more generations per year and earlier seasonal parasite occurrence. We showed that in early summer the Beaver Creek-Klamath River confluence provides juvenile Chinook and coho salmon an area of lower parasite doses and cooler temperatures than the main stem, thus lessening disease risk. By accelerating the development of C. shasta in its hosts, increasing temperatures will result in earlier parasite transmission to juvenile salmonids and a longer season of infectivity. These fish may find disease refuge at cold tributary inflows to the main stem of the Klamath River in early summer, further adding to the benefit of these important thermal habitats. To determine if similar disease
patterns occur in other rivers with the parasite, we described spatial and temporal occurrence of C. shasta in the Willamette River. By collecting weekly water sampling at four sites over 28 months we characterize seasonal and annual differences of parasite abundance, which varies with weekly temperature. We also collected samples along the length of the main stem and its tributaries and identified spatial differences in C. shasta spore densities. Identification of spatial and temporal variation of C. shasta in the Willamette River provides a foundation for understanding future patterns of disease occurrence in this river where conservation of anadromous fisheries is also of concern. This thesis identifies likely responses of C. shasta to climate warming in the Klamath River, with useful application to other rivers in the Pacific Northwest.