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Hydroelectric dams kill insects, wreak havoc with food webs

July 13, 2016

The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.

Hydropower dams generate more energy than all other renewable sources combined. However, they can also produce dire environmental consequences, including the devastation of aquatic insect populations and the food webs that those insects underpin. A practice called "hydropeaking" is evidently to blame. By altering river flows to meet power-generation needs, hydropeaking generates artificial tides that extirpate insect species. In this episode of BioScience Talks, we're joined by Dr. Ted Kennedy, a research ecologist with the US Geological Survey's Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. In this month's BioScience, he and his colleagues describe the underlying phenomenon and the citizen science project that brought it to light. In our discussion, Kennedy explains his findings and offers possible solutions to the hydropeaking conundrum.

To hear the whole discussion, visit this link for this latest episode of the Bioscience Talks podcast.
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American Institute of Biological Sciences

Related Hydropeaking Articles:

Dammed if you do: Scientists recommend strategies to reduce environmental damage from dams
Though hydropower is renewable energy, construction and operation of dams harms ecosystem functions and services.
Hydroelectric dams kill insects, wreak havoc with food webs
Hydropower dams generate more energy than all other renewable sources combined.
Hydropeaking extirpates river insects
One of hydropower's purported benefits is its ability to use timed water releases to meet peak electrical demand.
Hydropeaking of river water levels is disrupting insect survival, river ecosystems
A group of researchers concluded today in a study in the journal BioScience that 'hydropeaking' of water flows on many rivers in the West has a devastating impact on aquatic insect abundance.
River food webs threatened by widespread hydropower practice
The decline of aquatic insects downstream from some hydroelectric dams has been linked to a widespread practice known as hydropeaking, whereby river flows are increased during the day when electricity demands are large, according to a new study led by the US Geological Survey, along with researchers from Oregon State University, Utah State University and Idaho State University.
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