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Title: Short-term effects of a large dam decommissioning on biofilm structure and functioning
Author: Atristain, Miren
Schiller Calle, Daniel von
Larrañaga, Aitor
Elosegi, Arturo, 1962-
Keywords: Dics
Transport de sediments
Dikes (Engineering)
Sediment transport
Issue Date: Jan-2023
Publisher: Wiley
Abstract: Aging dams and the rising efforts to restore stream ecosystems are increasing the number of dam decommissioning programs. Although dam decommissioning aims at improving in-stream habitat, biodiversity, and ecosystem functioning in the long term, it might also cause ecological impacts in the short term due to the mobilization of the sediment accumulated in the reservoir. Benthic biofilm in particular can be impaired by episodes of high turbidity and scouring. We conducted a multiple before-after/control-impact experiment to assess the effects of the drawdown of a large dam (42 m tall), a first step to its decommissioning, on biofilm structure (biomass and chlorophyll-a) and functioning (metabolism, nutrient uptake, and organic matter breakdown). Our results show that the reservoir drawdown reduced the autotrophic biofilm biomass (chlorophyll-a) downstream from the dam, which in turn lowered metabolism. However, nitrogen and phosphorus uptake by the biofilm was not affected. Organic matter breakdown was slower below the dam than in nearby undammed reaches before and during drawdown. All drawdown effects quickly disappeared and reaches downstream from the dam approached values found in nearby undammed reaches. Thus, our results indicate that the effects of reservoir drawdown on stream biofilms exist but may be small and disappear rapidly.
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It is part of: Restoration Ecology, 2023, vol. 31, num. 1, p. e13779
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ISSN: 1061-2971
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals)

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