NCEAS Project 12354

Dams, river networks and the distribution of native and non-native freshwater fauna in the United States

  • John L. Sabo

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Sabbatical Fellow1st June 2009—31st August 2010Participant List  

Dams are ubiquitous in riverscapes and implicated in ‘biotic homogenization’ of river ecosystems. Biotic homogenization (BH) is defined as a reduction in biogeographic variation in species composition and caused by extinction of native fauna and invasion of non‐indigenous species. The goal of my proposed Sabbatical Fellow research is to define a quantitative approach to conservation biogeography of rivers rooted in drainage network theory. I will use seven georeferenced databases to quantify the effects of river network structure, the quantity and size of dams and nature of dam placement within the context of river networks on flow‐related changes in river biota across the US. In contrast to previous work on this topic I will tackle this question using a structural equation modeling approach that accounts for spatially autocorrelated errors in these datasets while simultaneously modeling complex cause‐effect relationships. This will allow me to quantify the cumulative (serial) effects of multiple dams in drainage networks and the interactive effects of dam and network properties on BH. This work should provide general rules of thumb about where in watersheds dam removal and experimental release strategies would work best.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Sabo, John L.; Sinha, Tushar; Bowling, Laura C.; Schoups, Gerrit H.; Wallender, Wesley W.; Campana, Michael E.; Cherkauer, Kieth A.; Fuller, Pam L.; Graf, William L.; Hopmans, Jan W.; Kominoski, John S.; Taylor, Carissa; Trimble, Stanley W.; Webb, Robert H.; Wohl, Ellen E. 2010. Climate Change and Water in Southwestern North America Special Feature: Reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert. Vol: 107. Pages 21263-21269. (Online version)
Journal Article Sabo, John L.; Finlay, Jacques C.; Kennedy, Theodore; Post, David M. 2010. The Role of Discharge Variation in Scaling of Drainage Area and Food Chain Length in Rivers. Science. Vol: 330. Pages 965-967. (Online version)