Higher plasticity in ecophysiological traits enhances the performance and invasion success of Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) in alpine environments

Autores:

Molina-Montenegro, M., Peñuelas, J., Munné-Bosch, S., & Sardans, J.

Resumen:

Phenotypic plasticity has long been suggested to facilitate biological invasions in changing environments, allowing a species to maintain a good ecophysiological performance. High-mountain habitats have been particularly useful for evaluation of the relative importance of environmental conditions in the colonization and invasion process, because they have heterogeneous and stressful climatic conditions, inducing photoinhibition. Light intensity is one of the most changing conditions along altitudinal gradients, showing more variability in higher altitudes. In this study, we analyzed the plasticity in photoprotective strategies and performance of the invasive Taraxacum officinale. Additionally, we tested whether higher plasticity enhances competitive ability in an alpine environment We conducted an experiment to evaluate plasticity with a second generation (F2) of T. officinale individuals from 1,600 to 3,600 m, in a greenhouse with variation in light intensity. Treatments consisted of transferring 120 individuals from each altitude to two conditions of light intensity. We then recorded concentrations of photoprotection pigment, de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle, foliar angles, photochemical efficiency by fluorescence of photosystem II, total dry biomass and flower production. Additionally, we compared plasticity in both photoprotective and performance traits between T. officinale and the co-occurring native species Hypochaeris thrincioides. Finally, we performed a manipulative experiment under two light regimes in order to assess the competitive outcome between the invasive T. officinale and the native H. thrincioides. Individuals from higher altitude showed significantly greater plasticity than individuals from lower altitude. Similarly, individuals under high light intensity showed higher levels of photoprotective pigments, biomass and flower production. On the other hand, the invasive plant species showed significantly greater plasticity than the co-occurring native species, and a strong negative impact on the biomass of the native plant. Phenotypic plasticity seems to be a successful strategy in T. officinale to compete with native species and may be positively associated with the success of invasions, being greater in individuals from more heterogeneous and stressful environments.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Altitudinal gradientCompetitionFluorescenceLight intensityPhotoprotective pigmentsXanthophyll cycle

Shrub facilitation increases plant diversity along an arid scrubland-temperate rain forest boundary in South America

Autores:

van Zonneveld, M., Gutiérrez, J., & Holmgren, M.

Resumen:

Theoretical models predict nurse plant facilitation enhances species richness by ameliorating stressful environmental conditions and expanding distributional ranges of stress-intolerant species into harsh environments. We studied the role of nurse facilitation on the recruitment of perennial plants along an arid scrubland–temperate rain forest boundary to test the following predictions: (1) nurse shrub canopy increases seedling abundance and species richness along the rain forest–scrubland boundary; (2) scrubland species are less dependent on facilitative interactions than temperate rain forest species, especially at the moister, upper end of the gradient.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves:

Plasticidad fenotípica en dos poblaciones antárticas de Colobanthus quitensis (Caryophyllaceae) bajo un escenario simulado de cambio global

Autores:

Molina-Montenegro, M., Torres-Díaz, C., Carrasco-Urra, F., González-Silvestre, L., & Gianoli, E.

Resumen:

La Antártica se caracteriza por presentar condiciones ambientales extremas, lo cual limita el establecimiento de las plantas vasculares. Dentro de dichas características ambientales están las bajas temperaturas, corta estación de crecimiento y el estrés hídrico y nutricional. La baja disponibilidad hídrica ha sido sugerida como la principal limitante para el éxito de establecimiento, debido a que afecta de manera negativa las respuestas fisiológicas y reproductivas de las plantas. Colobanthus quitensis (Kunth) Bartl. (Caryophyllaceae) es una de las dos plantas vasculares nativas que habitan la Antártica Marítima y se ha demostrado que su desempeño fisiológico y reclutamiento es afectado negativamente por el estrés hídrico del suelo. La plasticidad fenotípica y la adaptación local serían dos de las principales estrategias de C. quitensis para lidiar con las adversas condiciones ambientales que predominan en el continente antártico. Se ha documentado que, bajo un escenario futuro de cambio climático, la disponibilidad hídrica en la Antártica aumentaría entre un 30-40%, mejorando las condiciones para el establecimiento. En el presente trabajo evaluamos mediante un experimento de jardín común, realizado en cámaras de crecimiento, la plasticidad morfo-fisiológica y el esfuerzo reproductivo en individuos de C. quitensis provenientes de dos sitios en las Islas Shetland, bajo un escenario simulado de cambio climático (aumento en un 40% de la disponibilidad hídrica) y bajo la situación actual (disponibilidad hídrica registrada en los sitios de origen). En general, los individuos de C. quitensis de ambos sitios presentaron evidencia de plasticidad, aumentando su eficiencia fotoquímica, largo y ancho foliar, y esfuerzo reproductivo bajo la condición de aumento en la disponibilidad hídrica. La magnitud del aumento en la respuesta plástica fue mayor en aquellos individuos provenientes del sitio más árido en comparación a sus con-específicos del sitio más húmedo. Si los actuales patrones de cambio climático se mantienen, las condiciones abióticas podrían volverse más favorables para C. quitensis, mejorando su desempeño ecofisiológico y permitiendo la expansión de su rango de distribución sobre la Antártica.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Antártica, esfuerzo reproductivo, estrés hídrico, Fv / Fm, islas Shetland.

Application of water quality indices and analysis of the surface water quality monitoring network in semiarid North-Central Chile

Autores:

Espejo, L., Kretschmer, N., Oyarzún, J., Meza, F., Núñez, J., Maturana, H., Soto, G., Oyarzo, P., Garrido, M., Suckel, F., Amezaga, J., Oyarzún, R.

Resumen:

Surface water quality has increasing importance worldwide and is particularly relevant in the semiarid North-Central Chile, where agriculture and mining activities are imposing heavy pressure on limited water resources. The current study presents the application of a water quality index in four watersheds of the 29°–33°S realm for the period 1999–2008, based on the Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment approach and the Chilean regulation for irrigation water quality. In addition, two modifications to the index are tested and a comprehensive characterization of the existing monitoring network is performed through cluster analysis. The basins studied show fairly good water quality in the overall, specially the Limarí basin. On the other hand, the lower index values were obtained for the headwaters of Elqui, associated with the El Indio mining district. The first modification of the indicator (i.e., to consider parameters differentially according to their effect on human health or the environment) did not produce major differences with respect to the original index, given the generally good water quality. The second modification (i.e., to consider as threshold values the more restrictive figures derived from a set of regulations) yielded important differences in the indicator values. Finally, an adequate characterization of the monitoring network was obtained. The results presented spatial coherence and the information can be used as a basis for the optimization of the monitoring network if required.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: CCME-WQI, Secondary water quality regulations, Physicochemical parameters, Heavy metals, Cluster analysis.

Hydro-meteorological trends in semi-arid north-central Chile (29–32°S): water resources implications for a fragile Andean region

Autores:

Souvignet, M., Oyarzún, R., Verbist, K., Gaese, H., & Heinrich, J.

Resumen:

Changes in hydro-meteorological historical records are of considerable importance for future planning. This study analyses trends of hydro-climatological indices of annual and seasonal precipitation, temperature and discharge in the “Norte Chico” region of Chile (29–32°S), located in the Central Andes. It addresses how these trends possibly impacted on the water resources in a nival regime, typical for arid mountainous regions. Homogenous records were tested against monotonic trends using the non-parametric rank-based Mann-Kendall test. The results suggested, at a very high confidence level, a strong warming signal trend over recent decades, consistent at the annual and seasonal levels. Furthermore, warmer days are observed in summer, especially at higher elevations. The region also experienced a shift in the rainy season over the last 42 years. However, an increase in precipitation was observed over recent decades, whereas an annual decrease was the general tendency when the whole century was considered. Changes in discharge were not unequivocal and glacier retreat has been compensated for possibly by an increase in snowmelt in recent years. Hence, in an under-studied area, from the hydrological perspective, this work provides some insights for a better understanding of changing hydrological processes in the mid-latitude Andes Cordillera.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: trend detection, variability, climate change, hydro-climatological indices, arid region, Chile.

Recent melt rates of Canadian arctic ice caps are the highest in four millennia. Global And Planetary Change

Autores:

Fisher, D., Zheng, J., Burgess, D., Zdanowicz, C., Kinnard, C., Sharp, M., & Bourgeois, J.

Resumen:

There has been a rapid acceleration in ice-cap melt rates over the last few decades across the entire Canadian Arctic. Present melt rates exceed the past rates for many millennia. New shallow cores at old sites bring their melt series up-to-date. The melt-percentage series from the Devon Island and Agassiz (Ellesmere Island) ice caps are well correlated with the Devon net mass balance and show a large increase in melt since the middle 1990s. Arctic ice core melt series (latitude range of 67 to 81 N) show the last quarter century has had the highest melt in two millennia and The Holocene-long Agassiz melt record shows that the last 25 years has the highest melt in 4200 years. The Agassiz melt rates since the middle 1990s resemble those of the early Holocene thermal maximum over 9000 years ago.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Ice core; Melt layers; Holocene; Warming; Ice caps

Observations of cryoconite hole system processes on an Antarctic glacier

Autores:

Macdonell, S. & Fitzsimons, S.

Resumen:

Los "cryoconite holes" son cavidades que contienen agua, formadas en las superficies de glaciares, donde la desigual distribución de sedimentos causa diferencias espaciales en el derretimiento. Los "cryoconite holes" son importantes componentes de los sistemas glaciares fríos, debido a que incrementan el derretimiento del hielo, permiten el desarrollo de complejos sistemas de drenajes y facilitan el crecimiento de comunidades microbianas en la superficie del glaciar. Este estudio describe el desarrollo de una red hidrológica de "cryoconite holes" en un glaciar de la Antártica y explora las implicancias para la reserva y entrega de nutrientes dentro del sistema del glaciar. Las mediciones de terreno incluyen dimensiones internas y mapeo de "cryoconite holes" a lo largo de la superficie del glaciar. El trabajo de laboratorio incluye análisis de cationes y aniones de hielo limpio y de los "cryoconite holes". Los resultados mostraron que la distribución de los "cryoconite holes" estaba determinada por la topografía y las tasas de erosión locales. Las superficies planas se caracterizaron por una alta densidad de "cryoconite holes". Los "cryoconite holes" fueron poco comunes dentro de canales sobre la superficie del glaciar y en superficies con altas tasas de erosión. La correlación negativa encontrada entre la densidad de "cryoconite holes" y la tasa de erosión sugiere que la superficie del glaciar necesita estar relativamente estable para el desarrollo y persistencia de los "cryoconite holes". Además, los "cryoconite holes" posiblemente contribuyan en 1/3 a la generación del derretimiento en superficies planas. Sin embargo, no toda esta agua es retenida en las cavidades. El agua puede ser drenada por canales, grietas o drenajes intergranulares, no obstante, la importancia relativa de cada uno no es conocida aún. Debido a que los "cryoconite holes" son relativamente ricos en nutrientes, comparados con el hielo limpio del glaciar, sería importante conocer la naturaleza de sus conexiones, a fin de determinar la entrega de nutrientes a lo largo del glaciar y a la región proglacial.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Agua de fusión, biogeoquímica, hidrología de glaciares, sistema de drenaje, sustancia disuelta.

Application of the Watershed Sustainability Index to the Elqui river basin, North-Central Chile

Autores:

Cortés, A., Oyarzún, R., Kretschmer, N., Chaves, H., Soto, G., & Soto, M. et al.

Resumen:

El índice WSI, desarrollado para estimar la sustentabilidad de una cuenca en forma integrada con énfasis en la gestión de recursos hídricos, fue determinado en la Cuenca del Río Elqui considerando un período de 5 años (2001-2005). La cuenca del Río Elqui se ubica en una región semiárida de Chile, y ha sido incorporada a la red de cuencas hidrográficas del programa HELP de la UNESCO. El resultado fue un valor global de 0.61 para el indicador WSI (en el rango de 0 a 1), calificando el nivel de sustentabilidad como "intermedio". Las mayores fortalezas de la cuenca se relacionaron con los indicadores de Ambiente y de Políticas. Por otro lado, las mayores debilidades observadas en la cuenca se relacionaron con el indicador de Hidrología, debido principalmente a la situación de escasez hídrica. La identificación de estas limitantes representan una oportunidad para mejorar la actual situación en la cuenca, lo que obliga a una coordinación más eficiente entre las diferentes instituciones involucradas en la gestión de los recursos naturales. La aplicación del WSI a la Cuenca de Elqui demostró su utilidad como instrumento analítico asi como herramienta de gestión para autoridades relacionadas con el agua, usuarios y grupos de interés. Sin embargo, la actualización de la información local es necesaria para la planificación a mediano y largo plazo y la formulación de estrategias de desarrollo para esta cuenca y otras.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: gestión integrada de cuencas, hidrología, ambiente, calidad de vida, políticas

Abandoned tailings deposits, acid drainage and alluvial sediments geochemistry, in the arid Elqui River Basin, North-Central Chile. Journal of Geochemical Exploration

Autores:

Oyarzún J, Castillo D, Maturana H, Kretschmer N, Soto G, Amezagad JM, Röttingd TS, Youngere PL, Oyarzún R

Resumen:

Two major pollutant sources related to hydrothermal ore deposits and mining operations exist in the Elqui river basin, Chile: (a) acid drainage from Andean epithermal El Indio Au–Ag–Cu–As district and nearby hydrothermal alteration zones, and (b) diffuse sediment dispersion from abandoned tailings deposits in usually dry creeks in the western belt of the basin. This work analyses the contribution of both sources to the current metal contents of the fine grained sediments of the rivers and creeks of the Elqui basin, including a group of chemical elements and data analysis techniques not considered in previous works carried out in the area. Analysis of “active sediments” (i.e., sediments in permanent contact with surface water) in the main channel and tributaries of the Elqui river reveals that both pollutant sources contribute to their exceptionally high Cu contents (between 0.1 and 0.2% in the minus 60 mesh fraction). However, As pollution (0.03%) is mainly derived from the El Indio district. Potentially toxic heavy metals (notably Cd, Pb, Hg and Mo) are present in low concentrations and do not represent major threats to ecology or human health. Nevertheless, ongoing erosion of abandoned tailings deposits may result in soil contamination and thus be detrimental to the export-oriented agriculture of the Elqui basin. Consequently, remediation of that source should be prioritized.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Acid drainage; Active sediments; Hydrothermal alteration; Tailings; CAMINAR

What do we know about high-altitude precipitation in the semi-arid Andes of Chile?

Autores:

Bourgin P, Andreassian V, Gascoin S, Valery A.

Resumen:

Mapping precipitations on a regular grid is often required for hydrological and ecological modelling. The spatial interpolation methods are generally used to estimate such a distribution from ground-based measurements. In the case of mountainous areas, the estimation of precipitation amounts is still a challenging task and the results of spatial interpolation should be verified as much as possible. Here we describe a three-steps method for the validation of a precipitation map. This is used in the context of a mountainous semi-arid region, the Norte Chico in Chile (26°S-32°S). The implementation of this validation method showed the benefits of an interpolation method developed by Valéry [2010] for mountainous areas. The hydrological balance of the high-altitude watersheds is now more realistic.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Precipitation, spatial interpolation method, extrapolation, altitude, altitudinal corrections, validation, water equivalent, water balance.