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UnDisciplined: hydropower dams are leading to species extinctions

The late-afternoon sun glimmers on the surface of Lake Mead by Hoover Dam, as seen on June 28, 2022. Across the lake toward the right edge of the photo is one of two concrete lined spillways designed to funnel water around the dam when the reservoir reaches the maximum allowable height. This last occurred in July of 1983, when the lake reached its highest level on record.
Tom Yulsman
/
The Water Desk
Lake Mead

Connections matter– whether you're an aspiring politician or a species of tiny lizards in the Amazon rainforest. We know that deforestation is a critical driver in our global biodiversity crisis, and it's natural to blame logging as the primary reason. But the creation of hydropower is another cause for species loss. Damming tropical rivers not only drowns wildlife and lowland habitats, it turns ridge top forests into islands, isolating animal populations that need connections between their habitats to survive and flourish.

Ana Filipa Palmeirim background is in ecology. Her research focuses on the complex biodiversity responses to habitat loss, and fragmentation and tropical forests, particularly with the structure of food webs and ecosystem functioning. She's worked with a wide range of biological groups, and her research has taken her to Brazil, Malaysia and China theta.

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