BLANCO,JUAN F.;SCATENA,FREDERICK N. 2007. The spatial arrangement of neritina virginea (gastropoda: neritidae) during upstream migration in a split-channel reach.. River Res. Applic. 23: 235-245.

This paper relates differences in flow hydraulics between a main channel (MC) and a side channel (SC) of a river to patterns of upstream migration by Neritina virginea (Neritidae: Gastropoda), a dominant diadromous snail in streams of Puerto Rico (Greater Antilles). Near-bed water velocity, snail density and shell size were measured on a weekly basis between August and December 2000 along cross-sections in a main channel (MC) and an adjacent channel (SC) under a bridge crossing of the Rio Mameyes of Northeastern Puerto Rico. Near-bed velocity and water depth were used to compute Reynolds (Re) and Froude (Fr) numbers, and to classify flows within each channel. During base flow conditions (<2m3 s1), flow was chaotic and supercritical (Fr>1) in the MC, and non-chaotic and subcritical (Fr<1) in the SC. Higher mean densities (>100 indm2) of relatively small snails (mean s.d., 6.3 2.8 mm) were consistently recorded in the MC. Conversely, the SC had lower mean densities(<20 indm2) and significantly larger snails (7.6 2.4 mm). Within the MC, migratory groups preferred near-bed velocities>0.8ms1. Within the SC, they preferred the channel thalweg and depths>30 cm. The spatial arrangement that was observed between and within the channels may be related to food resources, predation pressure or biomechanics. Characteristics of preferred upstream migration pathways of N. virginea must be accounted when building road crossings incoastal streams with diadromous fauna.

Hierarchical contribution of river–ocean connectivity, water chemistry, hydraulics, and substrate to the distribution of diadromous snails in Puerto Rican streams

Blanco, Juan F.; Scatena, Frederick N. 2006. Hierarchical contribution of river-ocean connectivity, water chemistry, hydraulics, and substrate to the distribution of diadromous snails in Puerto Rican streams.. J. N. Am. Benthol. Soc., 25(1) :82-98.

Diadromous faunas dominate most tropical coastal streams and rivers, but the factors controlling their distribution are not well understood. Our study documents abiotic variables controlling the distribution and abundance of the diadromous snail Neritina virginea (Gastropoda:Neritidae) in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. An intensive survey of N. virginea density and shell size, and channel substrate, velocity, and depth was conducted at microhabitat, habitat, and reach scales of a coastal plain reach of the Río Mameyes between August and December 2000. In addition, the inland extent of distribution (stream-network scale) and presence (regional scale) of N. virginea were surveyed in 32 coastal rivers around the island during summer 2001 and 2003. At the microhabitat scale, snail density and microhabitat electivity were greater in patches consisting of a mix of boulders and cobbles than in other types of substrate. At the habitat scale, snail density increased with depth. At the reach scale, snail density increased with fast and turbulent flows (riffle > pools > pond), whereas snail size showed the opposite pattern. At the regional scale, populations were present in 13 of 32 streams. Populations of N. virginea were not found in rivers that were disconnected from the ocean for most of the year because of channel dewatering, formation of sediment bars at their mouths, and low mean monthly discharge (Q=0.69 m3/s). In contrast, rivers with N. virginea populations had a permanent (Q=4.04 m3/s) or seasonal (Q=2.88 m3/s) connection to the ocean over the year. At the regional scale, the inland distribution of populations was not correlated with stream gradient, but was negatively correlated with concentrations of SiO2, P, and acid neutralizing capacity of the water. Populations colonized montane reaches in only 5 rivers, all of which were forested and protected. Our study highlights the importance of taking a hierarchical approach in managing tropical coastal rivers, and the usefulness of neritid snails as biological indicators of the physical and chemical integrity of rivers.

Damming Tropical Island Streams: Problems, Solutions, and Alternatives.

MARCH,JAMES G.; BENSTEAD, JONATHAN P.; PRINGLE, CATHERINE M.; SCATENA, FREDERICK N. 2003. Damming Tropical Island Streams: Problems, Solutions, and Alternatives.. November 2003 / Vol. 53 No. 11 • BioScience.

The combination of human population growth, increased water usage, and limited groundwater resources often leads to extensive damming of rivers and streams on tropical islands. Ecological effects of dams on tropical islands can be dramatic, because the vast majority of native stream faunas (fishes, shrimps, and snails) migrate between freshwater and saltwater during their lives. Dams and associated water withdrawals have been shown to extirpate native faunas from upstream reaches and increase mortality of downstream-drifting larvae. A better understanding of the effects of dams and the behavior of tropical island stream faunas is providing insights into how managers can mitigate the negative effects of existing dams and develop alternatives to dam construction while still providing freshwater for human use.We review the ecological effects of dams on tropical island streams, explore means to mitigate some of these effects, describe alternatives to dam construction, and recommend research priorities.

Unusual Hydrograph Characteristics, Upper Río Chagres, Panamá

Justin M Niedzialek, "Unusual hydrograph characteristics, upper Rio Chagres, Panama" (January 1, 2007). Dissertations Collection for University of Connecticut. Paper AAI3265788.

Inaccessible locations and inhospitable working conditions have resulted in a lack of detailed hydrological knowledge in the tropics. I have established a new field observatory located near the town of Gamboa, Panama, adjacent to the mid-point of the Panama Canal. This observatory allowed detailed measurements of the hydrologic cycle at the first-order catchment scale. My investigations reveal that competing runoff production mechanisms are responsible for the observed streamflow. Both of these mechanisms are strongly dependent upon rainfall rate and secondarily upon cumulative rainfall volume. I have identified a small but hydrologically significant riparian zone that is decoupled from the hillslope. In contrast to the remainder of the catchment this riparian zone shows signs of frequent overland flow. Upslope regions occasionally produce overland flow during high-intensity rainfall. Parallel to the small scale studies in Gamboa, sub-watersheds of the 414 km2 upper Rio Chagres were instrumented. These gages showed that the Rio Chagres rarely reacts uniformly; instead, the observed runoff is usually the result of a limited portion of the watershed. Based on inspiration from field research a new conceptual model, Sac3, was developed. Sac3 was successfully calibrated and verified on several study watersheds. Sac3 was also used to explore the relationship deep groundwater storages had on seasonal changes in baseflow runoff behavior.

Transforming tropical rivers: an environmental perspective on hydropower development in Costa Rica

Anderson E, Pringle C, Rojas M (2006) Transforming tropical rivers: an environmental perspective on hydropower development in Costa Rica. Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 16: 679–693

1. Tropical rivers are increasingly being altered by hydropower dams. In Costa Rica, more than 30 hydropower plants were built during the 1990s and more dams are being proposed. Hydropower dams currently provide more than 80% of electricity consumed by the country’s 4 million residents, yet most of Costa Rica’s hydropower potential remains untapped. 2. Ecological consequences of dams in Costa Rica stem primarily from river fragmentation, stream de-watering, and downstream hydrological alterations. Dams affect distribution and abundance of aquatic biota, especially migratory species. Cumulative effects of multiple dams on individual river basins, especially in the northern part of the country, are also of concern but have not been adequately documented. 3. In light of recent hydropower development, we recommend conservation strategies that protect remaining free-flowing rivers, call for assessment of ecological impacts of dams on a broader scale, encourage research on aquatic systems and sustainable hydropower technologies, and promote the development of methods for estimating environmental flows for Costa Rican rivers. Copyright # 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Anderson EP, Freeman MC, Pringle CM. 2006a. Ecological consequences of hydropower development in Central America: impacts of small
dams and water diversion on neotropical stream fish assemblages. River Research and Applications 22: 397–411.

Small dams for hydropower have caused widespread alteration of Central American rivers, yet much of recent development has gone undocumented by scientists and conservationists. We examined the ecological effects of a small hydropower plant (Don˜a Julia Hydroelectric Center) on two low-order streams (the Puerto Viejo River and Quebradon stream) draining a mountainous area of Costa Rica. Operation of the Don˜a Julia plant has dewatered these streams, reducing discharge to 10% of average annual flow. This study compared fish assemblage composition and aquatic habitat upstream and downstream of diversion dams on two streams and along a 4 km dewatered reach of the Puerto Viejo River in an attempt to evaluate current instream flow recommendations for regulated Costa Rican streams. Our results indicated that fish assemblages directly upstream and downstream of the dam on the third order Puerto Viejo River were dissimilar, suggesting that the small dam (<15m high) hindered movement of fishes. Along the 4 km dewatered reach of the Puerto Viejo River, species count increased with downstream distance from the dam. However, estimated species richness and overall fish abundance were not significantly correlated with downstream distance from the dam. Our results suggested that effects of stream dewatering may be most pronounced for a subset of species with more complex reproductive requirements, classified as equilibrium-type species based on their life-history. In the absence of changes to current operations, we expect that fish assemblages in the Puerto Viejo River will be increasingly dominated by opportunistic-type, colonizing fish species. Operations of many other small hydropower plants in Costa Rica and other parts of Central America mirror those of Don˜a Julia; the methods and results of this study may be applicable to some of those projects. Copyright # 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Short-Term Disappearance of Foliar Litter in Three Species Before and After a Hurricane'

Short-Term Disappearance of Foliar Litter in Three Species before and after a Hurricane
Neal H. Sullivan, William B. Bowden and William H. McDowell
Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1999), pp. 382-393

Litter disappearance was examined before (1989) and after (1990) Hurricane Hugo in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico using mesh litterbags containing abscised Cyrilla racemiflora or Dacryodes excelsa leaves or fresh Prestoea montana leaves. Biomass and nitrogen dynamics were compared among: (i) species; (ii) mid- and high elevation forest types; (iii) riparian and upland sites; and (iv) pre- and post-hurricane disturbed environments. Biomass disappearance was compared using multiple regression and negative exponential models in which the slopes were estimates of the decomposition rates subsequent to apparent leaching losses and the y-intercepts were indices of initial mass losses (leaching). Cyrilla racemiflora leaves with low nitrogen (0.39%) and high lignin (22.1%) content decayed at a low rate and immobilized available nitrogen. Dacryodes excelsa leaves had moderate nitrogen (0.67%) and lignin (16.6%) content, decayed at moderate rates, and maintained the initial nitrogen mass. Prestoea montana foliage had high nitrogen (1.76%) and moderate lignin (16.7%) content and rapidly lost both mass and nitrogen. There were no significant differences in litter disappearance and nitrogen dynamics among forest types and slope positions. Initial mass loss of C. racemiflora leaves was lower in 1990 but the subsequent decomposition rate did not change. Initial mass losses and the overall decomposition rates were lower in 1990 than in 1989 for Dacryodes excelsa. Dacryodes excelsa and C. racemiflora litter immobilized nitrogen in 1990 but released 10-15 percent of their initial nitrogen in 1989, whereas P. montana released nitrogen in both years (25-40%). Observed differences in litter disappearance rates between years may have been due to differences in the timing of precipitation. Foliar litter inputs during post-hurricane recovery of vegetation in Puerto Rico may serve to immobilize and conserve site nitrogen.

Comparison of total mercury and methylmercury cycling at five sites using the small watershed approach

Shanley JB, Mast MA et al (2006) Comparison of total mercury and methylmercury cycling at five sites using the small watershed approach. In: 8th international conference on mercury as a global pollutant, Madison, WI

The small watershed approach is well-suited but underutilized in mercury research. We applied the small watershed approach to investigate total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) dynamics in streamwater at the five diverse forested headwater catchments of the US Geological Survey Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) program. At all sites, baseflow THg was generally less than 1 ng L1 and MeHg was less than 0.2 ng L1. THg and MeHg concentrations increased with streamflow, so export was primarily episodic. At three sites, THg and MeHg concentration and export were dominated by the particulate fraction in association with POC at high flows, with maximum THg (MeHg) concentrations of 94 (2.56) ng L1 at Sleepers River, Vermont; 112 (0.75) ng L1 at Rio Icacos, Puerto Rico; and 55 (0.80) ng L1 at Panola Mt., Georgia. Filtered (<0.7 mm) THg increased more modestly with flow in association with the hydrophobic acid fraction (HPOA) of DOC, with maximum filtered THg concentrations near 5 ng L1 at both Sleepers and Icacos. At Andrews Creek, Colorado, THg export was also episodic but was dominated by filtered THg, as POC concentrations were low. MeHg typically tracked THg so that each site had a fairly constant MeHg/THg ratio, which ranged from near zero at Andrews to 15% at the low-relief, groundwater-dominated Allequash Creek,Wisconsin. Allequash was the only site with filtered MeHg consistently above detection, and the filtered fraction dominated both THg and MeHg. Relative to inputs in wet deposition, watershed retention of THg (minus any subsequent volatilization) was 96.6% at Allequash, 60% at Sleepers, and 83% at Andrews. Icacos had a net export of THg, possibly due to historic gold mining or frequent disturbance from landslides. Quantification and interpretation of Hg dynamics was facilitated by the small watershed approach with emphasis on event sampling.  2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Stormflow generation in a small rain-forest catchment in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico

Schellekens,J.; Scatena, F. N.; Bruijnzee, L.A.; van Dijk, A. I. J. M.; Groen, M. M. A.; van Hogezand, R. J. P. 2004. Stormflow generation in a small rainforest catchment in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico.. Hydrol. Process. 18, 505-530.

Various complementary techniques were used to investigate the stormflow generating processes in a small headwater catchment in northeastern Puerto Rico. Over 100 samples were taken of soil matrix water, macropore flow, streamflow and precipitation, mainly during two storms of contrasting magnitude, for the analysis of calcium, magnesium, silicon, potassium, sodium and chloride. These were combined with hydrometric information on streamflow, return flow, precipitation, throughfall and soil moisture to distinguish water following different flow paths. Geo-electric sounding was used to survey the subsurface structure of the catchment, revealing a weathering front that coincided with the elevation of the stream channel instead of running parallel to surface topography. The hydrometric data were used in combination with soil physical data, a one-dimensional soil water model (VAMPS) and a three-component chemical mass-balance mixing model to describe the stormflow response of the catchment. It is inferred that most stormflow travelled through macropores in the top 20 cm of the soil profile. During a large event, saturation overland flow also accounted for a considerable portion of the stormflow, although it was not possible to quantify the associated volume fully. Although the mass-balance mixing model approach gave valuable information about the various flow paths within the catchment, it was not possible to distill the full picture from the model alone; additional hydrometric and soil physical evidence was needed to aid in the interpretation of the model results

Modelling rainfall interception by a lowland tropical rain forest in northeastern Puerto Rico

Schellekensa, J.; Scatenab,F.N.; Bruijnzeela,L.A.; Wickela,A.J. 1999. Modelling rainfall interception by a lowland tropical rain forest in northeastern Puerto Rico. Journal of Hydrology 225 :168-184.

Recent surveys of tropical forest water use suggest that rainfall interception by the canopy is largest in wet maritime locations. To investigate the underlying processes at one such location—the Luquillo Experimental Forest in eastern Puerto Rico—66 days of detailed throughfall and above-canopy climatic data were collected in 1996 and analysed using the Rutter and Gash models of rainfall interception. Throughfall occurred on 80% of the days distributed over 80 rainfall events. Measured interception loss was 50% of gross precipitation. When Penman–Monteith based estimates for the wet canopy evaporation rate (0.11 mm h21 on average) and a canopy storage of 1.15 mm were used, both models severely underestimated measured interception loss. A detailed analysis of four storms using the Rutter model showed that optimizing the model for the wet canopy evaporation component yielded much better results than increasing the canopy storage capacity. However, the Rutter model failed to properly estimate throughfall amounts during an exceptionally large event. The analytical model, on the other hand, was capable of representing interception during the extreme event, but once again optimizing wet canopy evaporation rates produced a much better fit than optimizing the canopy storage capacity. As such, the present results support the idea that it is primarily a high rate of evaporation from a wet canopy that is responsible for the observed high interception losses.
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