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University of Michigan

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


In the Changuinola/Teribe watershed of Bocas Del Toro, Panama, changes to the fluvial system due to the recently constructed Bonyic Dam have implications connected to the biodiversity of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the livelihoods of thousands of people of the Naso-Teribe indigenous group. This study investigated the composition of fish communities in 6 study sites in 3 different areas in relation to the Bonyic Dam. A total of 318 individual fish were captured, representing 5 families and 10 species, using the cast net sampling method. The biodiversity was analyzed using Simpson’s Diversity Index, Evenness Index, species richness, and species abundance counts. Analysis revealed that the abundance of most of the recorded species differed significantly from the expected distribution across study sites and areas (P<0.05). All five families were found in stretches below the dam, while only two were found above the dam. No diadromous species were found upstream from the Bonyic Dam, suggesting the inability for these fish to travel passed the dam closure. The results of this study suggest that the Bonyic Dam affects fish community composition, potentially due to its effects on habitat composition and fish migration patterns.


Animal Sciences | Aquaculture and Fisheries | Biodiversity | Environmental Health | Latin American Studies | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


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