November 29, 2021
The most recently published paper under the RIVEAL project entitled “River ecosystem endangerment from climate change-driven regulated flow regimes” was published in the reputable scientific journal Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN). This study investigates the effects of climate change, and its repercussions on hydropower production, on the instream biota of a regulated river. Particularly, it aims to ascertain how mesohabitat availability downstream of hydropower plants changes due to modified flow regimes driven by climate change; how mesohabitat changes will influence the instream biota; and if instream biota changes will be similar within and between biological groups. Results show that, facing such climate-changed flow regimes already for 2050, the biological elements are expected to face abundance/cover modifications ranging from decreases of 76% up to 67% increase, depending on the biological element and indicator taxa. Diatoms seem to endure the greatest range of modifications while macrophytes the slightest. Such underlies an important risk to fluvial biodiversity in the future, indicating climate change as a significant threat to the fluvial system in regulated rivers. Download the paper here.