OOS 16-9 - Sustainable hydropower development in the Mekong River

Tuesday, August 9, 2011: 4:20 PM
17B, Austin Convention Center
Guy Ziv, School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom, Eric Baran, World Fish Centre, Cambodia, Cambodia, Ignacio Rudriguez-Iturbe, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University and Simon A. Levin, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Hydropower development plans threaten the large fish biodiversity of the Mekong River. In particular, the conservation of over 90 migratory species depends on maintaining connectivity between upstream spawning sites and feeding regions in the downstream floodplains. To analyze impacts of dam construction, we develop a model in which one migratory species travels between two habitats, co-populated by a resident species.


The model shows that costly migration can be compensated by moving to a better habitat for part of the year. Flow modifications reduce migration success, and can cause species extinction even if fish passes are constructed. Some implications relevant to the Mekong River would be discussed.

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