Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Indus river dolphin's declining range: Patterns of river fragmentation provide insight into river dolphin conservation

Date:
July 16, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
Removal of river water for irrigation and habitat fragmentation by irrigation dams were shown to be the principal factors contributing to the decline of the Indus river dolphin.

This is a photo of Indus River dolphins.
Credit: Albert Reichert; CC-BY

Removal of river water for irrigation and habitat fragmentation by irrigation dams were shown to be the principal factors contributing to the decline of the Indus river dolphin, according to a study published July 16, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Gill Braulik from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of St. Andrews and colleagues.

Related Articles


Many freshwater marine mammals are endangered due to rapidly degrading habitat and conservation of these megafauna species depends on maintaining intact habitat. This study used historical range data and information on dolphin presence from fisher interviews to better understand the timing pattern of range decline of the Indus River Dolphin, an endangered freshwater dolphin that inhabits one of the most modified rivers in the world. Additionally, the authors' modeled seven potential explanations of declining range, including date of construction of the nearest dam, dry season river discharge, distance from the edge of the former range and length of river section to identify the factors responsible for the decline.

Results indicate that the historical range of the Indus dolphin has been fragmented into 17 river sections by diversion dams. River dolphins disappeared from ten river sections, still live in six, and are of unknown status in one section. Scientists found that low dry-season river discharge, due to irrigation at diversion dams, was the principal factor that explained the dolphin's range decline and that dolphins were more likely to persist in the core of the former range, likely due to the concentration of water diversions and dams near the range periphery. The authors suggest this study may provide insight in how other river vertebrate populations may respond to planned dams and water developments.

Dr. Braulik added, "This important study shows that it is river habitat fragmentation by dams, and removal of river water for irrigation that has caused the massive range decline of the Indus River freshwater dolphin. This increased understanding of species decline in fragmented river systems is especially important because hundreds of new dams and water developments are planned or are under construction in many of the world's rivers and large losses of aquatic biodiversity can be expected."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gill T. Braulik, Masood Arshad, Uzma Noureen, Simon P. Northridge. Habitat Fragmentation and Species Extirpation in Freshwater Ecosystems; Causes of Range Decline of the Indus River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor). PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e101657 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101657

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Indus river dolphin's declining range: Patterns of river fragmentation provide insight into river dolphin conservation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716141306.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, July 16). Indus river dolphin's declining range: Patterns of river fragmentation provide insight into river dolphin conservation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716141306.htm
PLOS. "Indus river dolphin's declining range: Patterns of river fragmentation provide insight into river dolphin conservation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716141306.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A grand jury indicted four former executives of Freedom Industries, the company at the center of the Jan. 9, 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. The spill contaminated the Elk River and the water supply of 300,000 people. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uphill Battle to Tackle Indonesian Shark Fishing

Uphill Battle to Tackle Indonesian Shark Fishing

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Sharks are hauled ashore every day at a busy market on the central Indonesian island of Lombok, the hub of a booming trade that provides a livelihood for local fishermen but is increasingly alarming environmentalists. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France's Sauternes Wine Threatened by New Train Line

France's Sauternes Wine Threatened by New Train Line

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) Winemakers in southwestern France's Bordeaux are concerned about a proposed high speed train line that could affect the microclimate required for the region's sweet wine. Duration: 01:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins