New lake in a changing world: the construction and filling of a small hydropower reservoir in the tropics (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

  • Christina Wyss Castelo BrancoEmail author
  • João José Fonseca Leal
  • Vera Lúcia de Moraes Huszar
  • Daniel da Silva Farias
  • Tatiana Dillenbug Saint’Pierre
  • Izidro Ferreira Sousa-Filho
  • Elisabete Fernandes de Albuquerque de Palermo
  • Alcides Wagner Serpa Guarino
  • Adalto Rodrigues Gomes
  • Betina Kozlowsky-Suzuki
Research Article


Climate change has affected rainfall patterns in tropical regions, where simultaneous demands for water and energy, habitat loss, declining biodiversity, and spread of invasive species have reflected a rapidly changing world underway. In Brazil, hydropower generation accounts for 64% of the electricity matrix, which presently includes 1007 small hydropower plants (SHPs) having many others under construction or planned. This paper aimed to evaluate changes in water quality, plankton communities, and benthic macroinvertebrates during dam construction, filling, and the first year of operation of a SHP. Suspended solids, turbidity, and silica were variables that highlighted the impact of this construction on the river. Fast changes in water quality (increases in calcium, chlorides, and nitrate) and on aquatic communities (i.e. euglenophyceans and testate amoebae increased in numbers) were detected during the filling phase. Following SHP construction, the concentrations of metals and total phosphorus tended to decrease. Two striking findings observed in the aquatic communities from the riverine conditions to the new lake were the increase in picocyanobacteria abundance, expanding population stocks throughout the river basin, and the constant presence of the invasive mollusc Corbicula fluminea in the macroinvertebrate assemblage, revealing once again its resistance to environmental variability. The lake soon became a natural trap for ions from the drainage basin, as revealed by the increase in electrical conductivity, ammonium, potassium, and magnesium concentrations and the abundance of cyanobacteria, highlighting the need for watershed management to improve ecological conditions in the lake.


Tropical reservoir Dam construction Metals Corbicula fluminea Cyanobacteria Phytoplankton Zooplankton Macroinvertebrates 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Wyss Castelo Branco
    • 1
    Email author
  • João José Fonseca Leal
    • 2
  • Vera Lúcia de Moraes Huszar
    • 3
  • Daniel da Silva Farias
    • 1
  • Tatiana Dillenbug Saint’Pierre
    • 4
  • Izidro Ferreira Sousa-Filho
    • 1
  • Elisabete Fernandes de Albuquerque de Palermo
    • 1
  • Alcides Wagner Serpa Guarino
    • 1
  • Adalto Rodrigues Gomes
    • 5
  • Betina Kozlowsky-Suzuki
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal University of the State of Rio de JaneiroInstitute of BiosciencesRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.IFRJ—Federal Institute of Education Science and Technology of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.National MuseumFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryPontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  5. 5.PCH PARACAMBI—LIGHTGER S.A. Company—Avenida Marechal FlorianoRio de JaneiroBrazil

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