top of page
Insular habitat fragmentation induced by hydroelectric dams: an emerging threat to biodiversity


Insular habitat fragmentation induced by hydroelectric dams: an emerging threat to biodiversity

Part 1: Tue, July 12, 10:30 - 12:30, Room Arsenal

Part 2: Tue, July 12, 14:00 - 16:00, Room Arsenal


Ana Filipa Palmeirim, Xingfeng Si, Anderson Bueno

Hydroelectric dams have induced widespread loss, fragmentation and degradation of terrestrial habitats in lowland tropical and sub-tropical forests. In this symposium, we aim to synthetize the current knowledge on biodiversity responses to habitat loss and insular fragmentation induced by hydroelectric dams.

The burgeoning energy demand worldwide has led to a proliferation of hydroelectric dams, firstly in the northern hemisphere and subsequently across tropical developing countries, which have become the new hydropower frontier. Given the relatively flat terrain in lowland tropical forests, after damming, all low elevation areas are inundated, while previous ridgetops often become islands. Currently, hydropower development is one of the primary means of habitat loss and fragmentation in tropical forests, hence a key threat to biodiversity. In this symposium, we will synthetize the ecological impacts of habitat loss and insular fragmentation following river damming across tropical and sub-tropical forests. To do so, we invited a set of speakers currently working on these artificial insular landscapes who will present novel and timely research on a range of topics covering multiple biological groups (e.g., birds, mammals, ants and lizards). Six insular landscapes will be represented: Balbina and Serra da Mesa Reservoirs in Brazil, Kenyir Lake in Malaysia, Chiew Larn in Thailand, Gatun Lake in Panama, and Thousand Island Lake in sub-tropical China. Our overhanging aims are to form a team to work on a review paper summarizing such ecological impacts across artificial insular landscapes and proposing guidelines for biodiversity conservation and sustainable hydropower development. The symposium will start with an introduction explaining how dams are responsible for the fragmentation of terrestrial habitats in lowland forests and how those can be used to study the general effects of habitat loss and fragmentation worldwide. Then, we will focus on the biodiversity patterns across gradients of habitat loss and insular fragmentation, including taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional responses of invertebrates and vertebrates. This part will be important to illustrate species responses to habitat insularization across the six landscapes. We will then focus on rapid evolutionary changes in the aftermath of damming, particularly on lizard assemblages, and in the processes behind the patterns. The symposium will be closed with a synthesis of the current knowledge on the impacts of damming on biodiversity. This symposium represents a great opportunity for researchers working in these insular landscapes to get together and discuss about the long-term and ongoing research to be presented, some of them already gained international impact. Incidentally, research in this symposium covers many taxa, further addressing both the impacts of hydropower development and the wide topic of habitat loss and fragmentation, which will potentially attract a wide range of ATBC attendees.

Hydropower: An emerging driver of biodiversity loss, an established model for fragmentation science
Luke Gibson* and Ana Filipa Palmeirim

The prevalence and diversity of avian haemosporidians in fragmented habitats of the Thousand Island Lake, China
Qiang Wu* and Ping Ding

Effects of habitat insularization on Amazonian arthropods and their ecological processes in a 30-year-old forest archipelago
Danielle Storck-Tonon*, Alexandre Somavilla, Thiago Izzo, José Ferreira, Dionei Silva, Carlos Peres and Ricardo Silva

Invasive rat drives complete collapse of native small mammal communities in insular forest fragments
Jonathan Moore*, Ana Filipa Palmeirim, Carlos Peres, Dusit Ngoprasert and Luke Gibson

Partitioning extirpation and colonisation components of avian beta diversity on land-bridge islands
Di Zeng*, Yuhao Zhao and Xingfeng Si

A tale of savanna lizards in artificial islands in central Brazil
Reuber Brandão*

Microhabitat and island area affect the abundance and richness of ants on fragmented habitat islands
Yuhao Zhao* and Xingfeng Si

Surviving Island Life: Island colonisation leads to rapid behavioural and morphological change
Daniel Nicholson*, Robert Knell, Rachel McCrea, Lauren Neel, John David Curlis, Claire Williams, Albert Chung, W. Owen McMillan, Trenton Garner, Christian Cox and Michael Logan

Are habitat loss and fragmentation effects on small mammals mediated by higher trophic levels? — Insights from Amazonian forest islands
Ana Filipa Palmeirim*, Maíra Benchimol, Marcus Vinicius Vieira and Carlos Peres

Matrix-subsidized tropical forest remnants retain threefold more bird species than analogous islands
Anderson Bueno* and Chase Mendenhall

Extending species-area relationships to the realm of eco-acoustics: the island soundscape-area relationship
Thomas Luypaert*, Anderson Bueno, Carlos Peres and Torbjørn Haugaasen

Biodiversity-hydropower tradeoffs of existing and planned dam infrastructure in lowland Amazonia
Carlos Peres*, Maíra Benchimol and Rodrigo Anzolin Begotti


bottom of page