ProjectEffects of winter reservoir drawdown on fish growth using bioenergetics modeling
Dams are a major driver of physiochemical, hydrological, and biotic change in aquatic ecosystems. One unnatural feature of reservoirs, relative to lakes and rivers, is the annual drawdown of water levels in winter to protect against spring flooding. However, such drawdown may have adverse effects of reservoir biota. In particular, littoral organisms including macrophytes and macroinvertebrates are vulnerable to drawdown. These, in turn, may lead to low habitat and food availability for fishes. In this project, I will be assessing the potential for drawdowns to affect fish growth using bioenergetics modeling, which can predict growth based on assumptions and existing data on temperature, fish consumption, waste, and other energetic parameters. Our results will be used to inform management recommendations for our agency and industrial partners to limit or mitigate such negative consequences.