DOI: 10.1002/fsh.10990 ISSN:

Aging, climate, and Invasions Threaten Reservoirs in the Mississippi River Basin

Leandro E. Miranda
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Aquatic Science


Reservoirs in the Mississippi River basin are facing three momentous threats. The first two, aging and climate change, are relatively slow moving and their signal can be hard to discern given their stretched temporal scales. The third, species invasions, is faster paced and discernable within shorter temporal scales and restricted spatial scales. Aging and climate directly affect reservoir environments and indirectly their biotic communities. Climate change is expected to interact with aging to speed up and, in some instances, slow down aging. Conversely, invasions primarily imperil biotic communities but can also impact environmental elements. This triple jeopardy is expected to transform reservoir environs and their biotic assemblages in various, often uncertain, ways. I take a broad view of these threats within the Mississippi River basin. A basin‐scale perspective, in contrast to a single reservoir or regional scale, may enhance awareness of reservoirs at a larger level and produce understanding less evident at local levels, hence possibly offering a wider range of choices for confronting threats. My aim is to (1) provide a synopsis of the assemblage of reservoirs and their attributes over the Mississippi River basin, (2) describe the issues related to aging, climate change, and invasions, and (3) consider a conservation framework for confronting these pressures. Given the overlapping temporal, spatial, and ecological effects of these threats, it is essential to address their effects simultaneously.

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