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The impact of the Gabčíkovo hydroelectric power barrier on the Danube floodplain environment—the results of long-term monitoring of land snail fauna

  • Tomáš ČejkaEmail author
  • Pavel Beracko
  • Igor Matečný
Article

Abstract

The Gabčíkovo Water Project, a major construction of damming and canalizing on the upper part of the middle Danube, significantly changed hydrological regime of the Danube inland delta, destroyed or affected most of the 230 km2 of wetlands and directly disrupted the original and unique ecosystem along a 37 km long river stretch. The aim of this study was to describe the effect of the Gabčíkovo Waterworks on the taxonomical and functional structure of the molluscan assemblages in the Danube riparian floodplain forests. The results demonstrate that the Gabčíkovo Waterworks had a direct and long-lasting effect on the direction of the succession of terrestrial molluscan assemblages, especially in the area of the by-pass section. The changes in the soil moisture caused by the waterworks’ operation led to significant changes in the species and functional composition of these assemblages. More specifically, however, the proportion of the generalists which prefer dry biotopes increased, while the number of moisture-demanding species decreased. Our results indicate that the current artificial flooding system cannot fully replace previous natural floods in the Danube inland delta, and it is also insufficient for restoration and preservation of the humidity conditions in the softwood floodplain forests which would be similar to the pre-operation period of the Gabčíkovo Waterworks.

Keywords

Soil moisture Land snails Large rivers 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the professional English reviewer for correcting the English of this paper and the two reviewers for their valuable comments to the manuscript.

Funding information

This research was supported by the Slovak Grant Agency VEGA (project no. 1/0119/16, 2/0030/17 and 2/0079/18).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Science and Biodiversity CenterThe Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of BotanyBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of EcologyComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  3. 3.Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Physical Geography and GeoecologyComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia

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