Assessment of transboundary river basins for potential hydro-political tensions
De Stefano, L., Petersen-Perlman, J., Sproles, E., Eynard, J., & Wolf, A.
This paper presents a systematic, global assessment of transboundary watersheds that identifies regions more likely to experience hydro-political tensions over the next decade and beyond based upon environmental, political, and economic indicators. The development of new water infrastructure in transboundary basins can strain relationships among fellow riparians as the impacts of new dams and diversions are felt across borders. Formal arrangements governing transboundary river basins, such as international water treaties and river basin organizations, provide a framework for dialogue and negotiation, thus contributing to assuaging potential disputes. Our study examines these two issues in tandem − the stresses inherent in development and the mitigating impact of institutions − and maps the risk of potential hydro-political tensions that exist where basins may be ill-equipped to deal with transboundary disputes triggered by the construction of new dams and diversions. We also consider several factors that could exacerbate those hydropolitical tensions in the near future, including changes in terrestrial water storage, projected changes in water variability, per capita gross national income, domestic and international armed conflicts, and recent history of disputes over transboundary waters. The study points to the vulnerability of several basins in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central America, the northern part of the South American continent, the southern Balkans as well as in different parts of Africa, where new water infrastructure is being built or planned, but formal transboundary arrangements are absent. Moreover, in some of these regions there is a concomitance of several political, environmental and socioeconomic factors that could exacerbate hydropolitical tensions. This study contributes to the understanding of how the recent proliferation of development accompanied with unfavourable socio-economic and environmental indicators may influence global hydropolitical resilience.
Palabras claves: Transboundary, Treaty, Assessment, Dispute, Cooperation, Conflict
Different sensitivities of snowpacks to warming in Mediterranean climate mountain areas
López-Moreno, J., Gascoin, S., Herrero, J., Sproles, E., Pons, M., Alonso-González, E., Hanich, L., Boudhar, A., Musselman, K.N., Molotch, N.P.
In this study we quantified the sensitivity of snow to climate warming in selected mountain sites having a Mediterranean climate, including the Pyrenees in Spain and Andorra, the Sierra Nevada in Spain and California (USA), the Atlas in Morocco, and the Andes in Chile. Meteorological observations from high elevations were used to simulate the snow energy and mass balance (SEMB) and calculate its sensitivity to climate. Very different climate sensitivities were evident amongst the various sites. For example, reductions of 9%–19% and 6–28 days in the mean snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow duration, respectively, were found per °C increase. Simulated changes in precipitation (±20%) did not affect the sensitivities. The Andes and Atlas Mountains have a shallow and cold snowpack, and net radiation dominates the SEMB; and explains their relatively low sensitivity to climate warming. The Pyrenees and USA Sierra Nevada have a deeper and warmer snowpack, and sensible heat flux is more important in the SEMB; this explains the much greater sensitivities of these regions. Differences in sensitivity help explain why, in regions where climate models project relatively greater temperature increases and drier conditions by 2050 (such as the Spanish Sierra Nevada and the Moroccan Atlas Mountains), the decline in snow accumulation and duration is similar to other sites (such as the Pyrenees and the USA Sierra Nevada), where models project stable precipitation and more attenuated warming. The snowpack in the Andes (Chile) exhibited the lowest sensitivity to warming, and is expected to undergo only moderate change (a decrease of <12% in mean SWE, and a reduction of < 7 days in snow duration under RCP 4.5). Snow accumulation and duration in the other regions are projected to decrease substantially (a minimum of 40% in mean SWE and 15 days in snow duration) by 2050.
Palabras claves: Snow, Mediterranean mountains, climate warming, snow simulations
First circumglobal assessment of Southern Hemisphere humpback whale mitochondrial genetic variation and implications for management
Rosenbaum H.C., Kershaw F., Mendez M., Pomilla C., Leslie M.S., Findlay K.P., Best P.B., Collins T., Vely M., Engel M.H., Baldwin R., Minton G., Meÿer M., Flórez-González L., Poole M.M., Hauser N., Garrigue C., Brasseur M., Bannister J., Anderson M., Olavarría C., Baker C.S.
The description of genetic population structure over a species’ geographic range can provide insights into its evolutionary history and also support effective management efforts. Assessments for globally distributed species are rare, however, requiring significant international coordination and collaboration. The global distribution of demographically discrete populations for the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae is not fully known, hampering the definition of appropriate management units. Here, we present the first circumglobal assessment of mitochondrial genetic population structure across the species’ range in the Southern Hemisphere and Arabian Sea. We combine new and existing data from the mitochondrial (mt)DNA control region that resulted in a 311 bp consensus sequence of the mtDNA control region for 3009 individuals sampled across 14 breeding stocks and subpopulations currently recognized by the International Whaling Commission. We assess genetic diversity and test for genetic differentiation and also estimate the magnitude and directionality of historic matrilineal gene flow between putative populations. Our results indicate that maternally directed site fidelity drives significant genetic population structure between breeding stocks within ocean basins. However, patterns of connectivity differ across the circumpolar range, possibly as a result of differences in the extent of longitudinal movements on feeding areas. The number of population comparisons observed to be significantly differentiated were found to diminish at the subpopulation scale when nucleotide differences were examined, indicating that more complex processes underlie genetic structure at this scale. It is crucial that these complexities and uncertainties are afforded greater consideration in management and regulatory efforts.
Palabras claves: Humpback whale, International Whaling Commission, Management unit, Population structure, Southern Hemisphere, Arabian Sea
Ancient female philopatry, asymmetric male gene flow, and synchronous population expansion support the influence of climatic oscillations on the evolution of South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens)
Oliveira L.Rd., Gehara M.C.M., Fraga L.D, Lopes F., Túnez J.I., Cassini M.H., Majluf P., Cárdenas-Alayza S., Pavés H.J., Crespo E.A., García N., Loizaga de Castro R., Hoelzel A.R., Sepúlveda M., Olavarría C., Valiati V.H., Quiñones R., Pérez-Alvarez M.J., Ott P.H., Bonatto S.L.
The South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) is widely distributed along the southern Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America with a history of significant commercial exploitation. We aimed to evaluate the population genetic structure and the evolutionary history of South American sea lion along its distribution by analyses of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and 10 nuclear microsatellites loci. We analyzed 147 sequences of mtDNA control region and genotyped 111 individuals of South American sea lion for 10 microsatellite loci, representing six populations (Peru, Northern Chile, Southern Chile, Uruguay (Brazil), Argentina and Falkland (Malvinas) Islands) and covering the entire distribution of the species. The mtDNA phylogeny shows that haplotypes from the two oceans comprise two very divergent clades as observed in previous studies, suggesting a long period (>1 million years) of low inter-oceanic female gene flow. Bayesian analysis of bi-parental genetic diversity supports significant (but less pronounced than mitochondrial) genetic structure between Pacific and Atlantic populations, although also suggested some inter-oceanic gene flow mediated by males. Higher male migration rates were found in the intra-oceanic population comparisons, supporting very high female philopatry in the species. Demographic analyses showed that populations from both oceans went through a large population expansion ~10,000 years ago, suggesting a very similar influence of historical environmental factors, such as the last glacial cycle, on both regions. Our results support the proposition that the Pacific and Atlantic populations of the South American sea lion should be considered distinct evolutionarily significant units, with at least two managements units in each ocean.
Palabras claves: Sea lions, Mitochondrial DNA, Chile (country), Population genetics, Haplotypes, Peru, Argentina, Oceans
Largest baleen whale mass mortality during strong El Niño event is likely related to harmful toxic algal bloom
Häussermann, V., Gutstein, C., Beddington, M., Cassis, D., Olavarria, C., & Dale, A., Valenzuela-Toro, A.M., Valenzuela-Toro, M.J., Sepúlveda, H.H., McConnell, K.M., Horwitz, F.E., Försterra, G.
While large mass mortality events (MMEs) are well known for toothed whales, they have been rare in baleen whales due to their less gregarious behavior. Although in most cases the cause of mortality has not been conclusively identified, some baleen whale mortality events have been linked to bio-oceanographic conditions, such as harmful algal blooms (HABs). In Southern Chile, HABs can be triggered by the ocean–atmosphere phenomenon El Niño. The frequency of the strongest El Niño events is increasing due to climate change. In March 2015, by far the largest reported mass mortality of baleen whales took place in a gulf in Southern Chile. Here, we show that the synchronous death of at least 343, primarily sei whales can be attributed to HABs during a building El Niño. Although considered an oceanic species, the sei whales died while feeding near to shore in previously unknown large aggregations. This provides evidence of new feeding grounds for the species. The combination of older and newer remains of whales in the same area indicate that MMEs have occurred more than once in recent years. Large HABs and reports of marine mammal MMEs along the Northeast Pacific coast may indicate similar processes in both hemispheres. Increasing MMEs through HABs may become a serious concern in the conservation of endangered whale species.
Palabras claves: Chilean Patagonia, Red tide, El Niño, Sei whales, Drift models, Balaenoptera borealis, Paralytic shellfish poison, Balaenopteridae, Taphonomy, Climate Change
Pollination Ecology of Polylepis tomentella (Rosaceae), an Andean Anemophilous Tree Presenting a Potential Floral Fungal Infection
Domic, A., Bernhardt, P., Edens-Meier, R., Camilo, G., & Capriles, J.
Premise of research. Anemophily is considered to be a mechanism that evolved to promote pollination success. However, reproductive output can decrease if pollen loads are scarce due to low abundance of compatible mates or floral infections. Here we analyze the effects of breeding system, pollen limitation, and a potential floral fungal infection on the reproductive output of the Andean tree Polylepis tomentella (Rosaceae).
Methodology. We performed pollen supplementation experiments in the field to assess the extent of the effect of pollen limitation on fruit and seed set and to identify any pre- or postzygotic self-incompatibility responses within receptive pistils. Supplementary scanning electron microscopy and epifluorescence microscopy were used to observe the possible effects of a potential floral fungal infection on sexual reproduction.
Pivotal results. Pollen supplementation did not increase fruit and seed set, suggesting weak evidence of pollen limitation. Most stigmas from self- and cross-pollinated flowers showed germinated pollen grains and pollen tubes in the style, indicating that the species exhibits prezygotic self-compatibility. The presence of three Ascomycota genera in stigmas and styles appears to have negatively affected the germination of pollen grains by inhibiting pollen tube growth, but we did not find evidence suggesting that hyphae are able to penetrate the ovary.
Conclusions. This study showed that P. tomentella possesses a prezygotic self-compatible system and that fruit and seed set are not affected by pollen limitation. Therefore, reproductive assurance is achieved through pollen transfer between plants by wind and the role played by self-compatibility that allows selfing in the species. However, it is possible that the potential fungal infection could reduce the fecundity of its tree host, as hyphae are able to penetrate pollen grains.
Palabras claves: Pollen limitation, potential floral fungal infection, prezygotic self-incompatibility, treeline, wind pollination.
Patterns of composition, richness and phylogenetic diversity of woody plant communities of Quillaja saponaria Molina (Quillajaceae) in the Chilean sclerophyllous forest
Letelier, L., Valderrama, A., Stoll, A., García-Gonzáles, R., & González-Rodríguez, A.
Sclerophyllous forest is among the most representative types of woody plant communities in central Chile where Quillaja saponaria is considered to be one of the most important species. In this study, we analysed the main factors that explain the geographical patterns of variation in composition, richness and phylogenetic diversity of woody plant communities in the Chilean sclerophyllous forest where Quillaja saponaria is present. Vegetation surveys were performed for trees and shrubs in thirty-nine sites from 30° to 38° of latitude South in the Mediterranean biome of Chile. Composition, richness, alfa diversity and phylogenetic diversity metrics of the communities were calculated and associated with spatial (latitude, longitude and altitude), climate (annual mean temperature, annual precipitation, aridity), and disturbance variables (type of adjacent vegetation matrix) using multiple regression models. Sixty taxa were identified, distributed in 29 families, including 23 trees and 37 shrubs. A significant effect of the type of adjacent vegetation matrix (i.e. agricultural land, commercial forestry plantation or natural forest) on diversity and composition of the sampled communities was found. Significant effects of latitude on diversity, and altitude, latitude and annual mean temperature on composition were also found. Metrics of phylogenetic diversity and structure were only associated with altitude and latitude. In conclusion, diversity, composition and phylogenetic structure patterns of sclerophyllous forest communities are associated with spatial and climate variables, and anthropogenic disturbance has also caused important changes in these communities.
El Bosque Esclerófilo es uno de los tipos más representativos de las comunidades de plantas leñosas en el centro de Chile, donde Quillaja saponaria es considerada una de las especies más importantes. En este trabajo se analizaron los principales factores que explican la distribución geográfica de la variación en la composición, riqueza y diversidad filogenética de las comunidades de plantas leñosas del Bosque Esclerófilo de Chile, donde Q. saponaria está presente. Se llevaron a cabo censos de vegetación de árboles y arbustos en treinta y nueve sitios desde los 30° a los 38° de latitud sur en el bioma mediterráneo de Chile. Se calcularon la composición, riqueza, diversidad alfa y la diversidad filogenética de las comunidades y se asociaron con variables espaciales (latitud, longitud y altitud), climáticas (temperatura media anual, precipitación anual, aridez), y variables de perturbación (tipo de matriz de la vegetación adyacente) usando modelos de regresión múltiple. Se identificaron sesenta taxones, distribuidos en 29 familias, incluyendo 23 árboles y 37 arbustos. Se encontró un efecto significativo del tipo de matriz de vegetación adyacente (es decir, tierras agrícolas, plantaciones forestales comerciales o bosques naturales) en la diversidad y composición de las comunidades estudiadas. También se encontraron efectos significativos de la latitud sobre la diversidad; y de la altitud, latitud y temperatura media anual sobre la composición de las comunidades, la diversidad filogenética sólo se asoció con la altitud y la latitud. En conclusión, la diversidad, composición y patrones de estructura filogenética se asocian con variables espaciales y climáticas; y las perturbaciones antropogénicas también han provocado cambios importantes en estas comunidades.
Palabras claves: Diversity; forest fragmentation; Mediterranean flora; phylogenetic diversity; vegetation matrix
Development of microsatellite markers and assembly of the plastid genome in Cistanthe longiscapa (Montiaceae) based on low-coverage whole genome sequencing
Stoll, A., Harpke, D., Schütte, C., Stefanczyk, N., Brandt, R., Blattner, F., & Quandt, D.
Cistanthe longiscapa is an endemic annual herb and characteristic element of the Chilean Atacama Desert. Principal threats are the destruction of its seed deposits by human activities and reduced germination rates due to the decreasing occurrence of precipitation events. To enable population genetic and phylogeographic analyses in this species we performed paired-end shotgun sequencing (2x100 bp) of genomic DNA on the Illumina HiSeq platform and identified microsatellite (SSR) loci in the resulting sequences. From 29 million quality-filtered read pairs we obtained 549,174 contigs (average length 614 bp; N50 = 904). Searching for SSRs revealed 10,336 loci with microsatellite motifs. Initially, we designed primers for 96 loci, which were tested for PCR amplification on three C. longiscapa individuals. Successfully amplifying loci were further tested on eight individuals to screen for length variation in the resulting amplicons, and the alleles were exemplarily sequenced to infer the basis for the observed length variation. Finally we arrived at 26 validated SSR loci for population studies in C. longiscapa, which resulted in 146 bi-allelic SSR markers in our test sample of eight individuals. The genomic sequences were also used to assemble the plastid genome of C. longiscapa, which provides an additional set of maternally inherited genetic markers.
A framework for the classification Chilean terrestrial ecosystems as a tool for achieving global conservation targets
Martínez-Tilleria, K., Núñez-Ávila, M., León, C., Pliscoff, P., Squeo, F., & Armesto, J.
Countries that are signatories of the Convention of Biological Diversity are committed to the goal of protecting 17% of their natural ecosystems by 2020. The lack of an up-to-date, operational classification and cartography of regional ecosystems seriously limits the assessment of progress towards this goal. Here, we present a broad ecosystem framework, which combines land use, functional traits of dominant plant species, and climatic factors for the classification of terrestrial ecosystems and apply this framework to classify Chilean terrestrial ecosystems. This new classification is consistent with the recently proposed IUCN framework to assess ecosystem conservation status. Using this framework, we identified and described 30 Chilean terrestrial ecosystems, including land units of natural and anthropogenic origin. We also provide a cartographic representation of ecosystems for land planning purposes and an overall assessment of their conservation status. We evaluated the representation of the 30 ecosystems in the Chilean National System of Protected Areas (NSPA) and in Private Protected Areas (PPA), identifying 15 ecosystems underrepresented (below the 17% target) in the NSPA, in contrast to only 11 when the area of NSPA+PPA was considered. The proposed classification can be broadly applicable to assess the conservation status of ecosystems elsewhere, using similar conceptual and methodological tools. The development of functional ecosystem classifications for different countries must be encouraged to facilitate monitoring of global conservation targets.
Palabras claves: Ecosystem approach, Biodiversity conservation, Functional traits, Protected areas
Ocupaciones arcaicas y probables evidencias de navegación temprana en la costa arreica de Antofagasta, Chile.
Castro, V., Aldunate, C., Varela, V., Olguín, L., Andrade, P., García-Albarido, F., Rubio, F., Castro, P., Maldonado, A. and Ruz, J.
El estudio intensivo del sitio Copaca 1, al sur de Tocopilla, proporciona antecedentes que permiten profundizar el conocimiento sobre el período Arcaico en la costa arreica de Antofagasta, para una sociedad que vivió de una eficiente adaptación costera, sin recursos complementarios extralocales. Estos nuevos hallazgos enriquecen la secuencia cronológica del Holoceno Medio, sus sistemas de asentamientos, prácticas mortuorias, modos de vida y probables evidencias de navegación.
Palabras claves: Costa arreica, período Arcaico, asentamientos, cronología, funebria.