Limnological response from high‑altitude wetlands to the water supply in the Andean Altiplano

García?Sanz, I., Heine?Fuster, I., Luque, J.A., Pizarro, H., Castillo, R., Pailahual, M., Prieto, M., Pérez?PortillA, P. & Aránguiz?Acuña, A.


The Andean Altiplano‑Puna is located at an elevation of approximately 4000 m.a.s.l. and is delineated by the Western and the Eastern Andes Cordillera. The high‑altitude wetlands (HAWs) in the Central Andes are unique ecosystems located in the Altiplano that provide many ecosystem services. The objective of this study was to characterize the spatial heterogeneity of the environmental conditions associated with varying hydrology of the HAW, Salar de Tara, in the Andean Altiplano. Sediment samples of up to 20 cm in depth were obtained from various salt flat sub‑environments. The samples were analyzed using proxies for mineralogical and chemical composition, thermal analysis, and magnetic susceptibility. Diatom and ostracod communities were also identified and analyzed. The results reflected changes in the geochemistry, carbon content, mineralogy, and magnetic properties of the sediments that can be explained by variations in the sources of water input to the Salar de Tara. The sub‑environments depend on the supply of water via the groundwater recharge of springs adjacent to the streamflow from the Zapaleri River, which promotes greater diversity and richness of genera. Our results suggest that water extraction at industrial levels greatly impacts the persistence of hydrologically connected HAWs, which concentrate a worldwide interest in brine mining.

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Título de la Revista: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS
Volumen: 11:7681
Fecha de publicación: 2021
Idioma: English
Notas: ISI