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Impacts of hydropower dams operations on plants: A greenhouse experiment on the response of germination and performance and survival of plant seedlings to direct and indirect effects of hydrological alterations resulting from hydropower dam operations
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This work helps increasing our general understanding of how plants behave under altered hydrological conditions which occur along rivers regulated by hydropower dams. Usually, natural-real environments are highly unpredictable. Consequently, research based on field data becomes challenging and results may contain uncertainty. Here, an experimental design in a greenhouse is developed. Several measured attributes of selected plant species related to germinability, performance and survival were used as indicators of the impact of watering treatments which mimic hydrological regime spilled through hydropower dams. Specifically, direct effect of water availability changes, water fluctuation and water flooding, and indirect effect through derived erosion, were tested. Results benefitted from indoors controlled conditions. They showed significant different responses depending on species and hydrological changes. In general, Helianthus annuus was slightly affected. It deal well flooding conditions, and was comparatively more affected by water fluctuation and stress. Carex and Filipendula species showed the highest sensitivities to flow. They hardly germinated under any water treatment (few germinations under flooding for Carex and few under water fluctuation for Filipendula) and performance was very low for germinates. Betula pubescens was in between. Contrarily to Helianthus, it was severely affected by flooding, and also for water fluctuation. It survived water stress better than Helianthus, but looked unhealthy. All species seeds but Helianthus were highly eroded. However, erosion resulting from water fluctuation was relatively higher than from prolonged flooding. Differing responses are the result of morphological and physiological characteristics of the species which enable them to success under certain stressful conditions, such as water scarcity and anoxia. These results objectively inform about tolerance limits of selected species to key hydrological conditions and are useful for riparian areas management and environmental flows designs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 20 p.
Keyword [en]
hydropower, riparian, erosion, Sweden, seed, flow alteration.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-105157OAI: diva2:823673
Educational program
Bachelor of Science in Biology and Earthscience
2015-06-05, 15:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-06-18 Created: 2015-06-18 Last updated: 2015-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Guindal Estévez, Guillermo
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