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Hydroelectric dams kill insects, wreak havoc with food webs

American Institute of Biological Sciences

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IMAGE: A new study reveals how hydropeaking operations from Glen Canyon Dam (pictured) affects the health of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. view more

Credit: US Geological Survey

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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