Intensive and incessant disruptions in watercourses such as dams are taking place due to the growing demand for hydroelectric generation, and can result in severe deterioration of ecosystem integrity. This research concentrates on the impact of dams on macroinvertebrate communities downstream of two hydropower dams on tributaries of the upper Ayeyarwady River basin (Myitnge and Chaungmagyi Rivers) in Myanmar. A total of 52 and 49 aquatic invertebrate taxa with a total abundance of 2,743 and 1,356 were collected from the Myitnge and Chuangamgyi Rivers, respectively. We found the natural flow regime had changed in both study rivers after the construction of the dams. Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) indicated the communities of morphospecies of taxa and the very sensitive insects (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera, and Odonata, EPTO) were significantly different between upstream and downstream of both dams. We used the preliminary Myanmar Aquatic Biomonitoring Assessment Index (MABA) detect ecological water quality. The MABA analysis using all taxa at family-level showed that upstream of the dams was rated as good quality whereas downstream of the dams was rated as fair quality. Our research showed that macroinvertebrates communities can be used as a bioindicator to detect the impact of human influences on river health such as dams. We concluded that the novel biomonitoring assessment tool recently developed for Myanmar is a promising monitoring tool as further river development occurs in Myanmar, which could also be linked to citizen science projects.
- hydropower generating dams
- macroinvertebrate community
- flow regime
- preliminary Myanmar aquatic biomonitoring assessment index