Effects of reservoirs water level variations on fish recruitment

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Abstract

The construction of hydroelectric power plants has many social and environmental impacts. Among them, the impacts on fish communities, which habitats are drastically modified by dams, with consequences across the ecosystem. This study aimed to assess the influence of water level (WL) variations in the reservoirs of the Itá and Machadinho hydroelectric plants on the recruitment of fish species from the upper Uruguay River in southern Brazil. The data analyzed resulted from the WL variation produced exclusively by the hydroelectric plants generation and were collected between the years 2001 and 2012. The results showed significant correlations between the abundance of juvenile fish and the hydrological parameters only for some reproductive guilds. The species that spawn in nests showed, in general, a clear preference for the stability in the WL of the reservoirs, while the species that spawn in macrophytes or that release demersal eggs showed no significant correlation between the abundance of juvenile fish and hydrological parameters. A divergence of results between the two reservoirs was observed between the species that release semi-dense eggs; a positive correlation with a more stable WL was only observed in the Machadinho reservoir. This result can be driven by a wider range of WL variation in Machadinho reservoir.

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de Lima, F. T., Reynalte-Tataje, D. A., & Zaniboni-Filho, E. (2017). Effects of reservoirs water level variations on fish recruitment. Neotropical Ichthyology, 15(3). https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-0224-20160084

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