Many species of aquatic vertebrates move laterally from rivers to floodplains, and many fish carry out long distance migrations from the lower reaches of the rivers to their headwaters. Through these movements, fish that are essential for the subsistence and income of local families, can promote trophic integrations and the exchange of nutrients across different aquatic environments in the Amazon basin.
Our research group aims to understand how the flow of energy and nutrients across ecosystem boundaries, mediated by fish and other aquatic vertebrates, promotes ecological connectivity in the Amazon basin.
Taking into account the negative effects of hydroelectric dams proposed for the Amazon, such information is essential to guide conservation efforts aimed at maintaining the natural hydrological connectivity of these ecosystems. This information may guide decision makers to take action to ensure that viable numbers of fish are maintained and to perpetuate the natural flow of nutrients and biomass across the boundaries of aquatic ecosystems.