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Neotropical Ichthyology

Print version ISSN 1679-6225On-line version ISSN 1982-0224

Abstract

MOL, Jan H.; MERONA, Bernard de; OUBOTER, Paul E.  and  SAHDEW, Shamita. The fish fauna of Brokopondo Reservoir, Suriname, during 40 years of impoundment. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2007, vol.5, n.3, pp.351-368. ISSN 1679-6225.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-62252007000300015.

We investigated long-term changes in the fish fauna of Brokopondo Reservoir, Suriname, the first large reservoir (1560 km2) that was created in tropical rainforest. Before closure of the dam in 1964, the fish fauna of Suriname River had 172 species, high diversity and high evenness. The riverine fauna was dominated by small-sized species, but no single species was dominant in numbers. Large catfishes were dominant in biomass. Species were evenly distributed over riverine habitats: rapids, tributaries and main channel. Four years after closure of the dam, only 62 fish species were collected from Brokopondo Reservoir, but the composition of the fish fauna was still changing. The reservoir fauna in 1978 was very similar to the reservoir fauna in 2005, indicating that a stable equilibrium had been reached 14 years after closure of the dam. The reservoir fauna had 41 species, low diversity and low evenness. Most species of Suriname River and its tributaries with strict habitat requirements did not survive in Brokopondo Reservoir. Fish community structure was different among four habitats of Brokopondo Reservoir. The open-water habitat (10 species) was dominated by the piscivores Serrasalmus rhombeus, Acestrorhynchus microlepis and Cichla ocellaris and their prey Bryconops melanurus and two Hemiodus species. B. melanurus fed on zooplankton, Culicinae pupae and terrestrial invertebrates. Hemiodus fed on fine flocculent detritus, demonstrating that the detritus-based food chain was still important in late stages of reservoir development. Serrasalmus rhombeus also fed on peccaries that drowned when swimming across the large reservoir in rough weather. The shore community (27 species) was dominated by seven cichlids, but early stages and juveniles of the open-water species S. rhombeus and B. melanurus also occurred in the shore habitat. Fish biomass in the shore habitat was 66.5±59.9 kg ha-1. The cichlid Geophagus surinamensis and the characid B. melanurus had a lower biomass in Brokopondo Reservoir than in Suriname River. Serrasalmus rhombeus showed reduced body length in Brokopondo Reservoir as compared to riverine populations.

Keywords : Dam; Man-made lake; Neotropical; River; Fish community.

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