Postglacial vegetation, fire and climate dynamics at Central Chilean Patagonia (Lake Shaman, 44°S).

Autores:

de Porras, M., Maldonado, A., Abarzúa, A., Cárdenas, M., Francois, J., & Martel-Cea, A. et al.

Resumen:

A 19 cal ka BP pollen and charcoal record from Lake Shaman (44°S; 71°W, Chile) was analyzed to establish vegetation, fire and climate dynamics of the forest-steppe ecotone in Central Chilean Patagonia. Lake Shaman record indicates that the upper Río Cisnes valley was free of ice at around 19 cal ka BP. From this date and until 14.8 cal ka BP, a grass steppe with high proportions of shrubs associated to colder and drier conditions than present developed in this area. A continuous increase of Nothofagus accompanied by a decline in the steppe shrubs and sudden dominance of paludal over aquatic plants from 11 cal ka BP was associated to effective moisture increase but still under modern values. The replacement of the cold-dry grass-shrub steppe by a similar-than-present forest-steppe ecotone suggests an increase in temperature indicating the onset of the Holocene. At the same time, moderate fire activity suggested by the charcoal record could be related to major fuel availability as consequence of Nothofagus forest expansion. Between 8 and 3 cal ka BP, the record indicates the easternmost position of the forest-steppe ecotone suggesting the highest effective moisture with the establishment of seasonality between 5 and 3 cal ka BP. From 3 cal ka BP, the record indicates a retraction of the forest-steppe ecotone accompanied by a high pollen record variability and an increased fire activity. These late changes suggest decreased effective moisture associated with a high climatic variability. At regional and extra-regional scale, climatic changes at Lake Shaman's record are mostly associated to changes (latitudinal shifts and/or strengthening/weakening) of past Southern Westerlies that were previously recorded along Patagonia from the Lateglacial to the mid-Holocene. During the Late Holocene, a regional pattern characterized by high record variability emerges throughout Central Chilean Patagonia. This variability would be related to (1) low magnitude Southern Westerlies changes probably associated to ENSO and/or SAM or (2) the complex relationships between vegetation, fire and human occupations during the last 3 cal ka.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Forest-steppe ecotone; Central Chilean Patagonia; Southern Westerlies; Lateglacial

Floating Seaweeds and Their Communities.

Autores:

Rothäusler, E., Gutow, L., & Thiel, M.

Resumen:

A wide diversity of floating seaweeds is found in temperate and subpolar regions of the world’s oceans where sea surface currents and winds determine their traveling velocities and directions. The importance of floating seaweeds as dispersal agents for associated organisms and for the algae themselves varies depending on the supply from benthic source populations and on their persistence at the sea surface. Persistence of floating algae depends on water temperature, grazing activity, epifaunal load, and, to a lesser extent, on prevailing irradiance conditions. In temperate regions, persistence of floating algae is primarily limited by warm sea surface temperatures and high densities of motile and sessile epifauna whereas at higher latitudes algae can successfully compensate grazer-induced tissue loss by continuous growth at the prevailing low water temperatures. Accordingly, floating seaweeds can bridge large oceanic distances especially at high latitudes allowing for connectivity among distant benthic populations of algae and associated rafters.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves:

The trade-off between cold resistance and growth determines the Nothofagus pumilio treeline.

Autores:

Molina-Montenegro, M., Gallardo-Cerda, J., Flores, T., & Atala, C.

Resumen:

The upper and poleward limit of tree distribution are usually determined by abiotic factors such as low temperature and strong winds. Thus, cold resistance is a key element for survival in high altitudes and latitudes where conditions can reduce plant growth. A trade-off between resource allocation to cold resistance and growth could emerge in populations frequently exposed to low temperatures like those in the treeline zone. We studied annual height growth and ice nucleation temperature in Nothofagus pumilio (Nothofagaceae) populations growing in its extremes of altitudinal distribution and in 3 sites situated on a latitudinal gradient in the Chilean Andes. Additionally, gas exchange, water and nitrogen use efficiency and total soluble sugar (TSS) were also measured as possible mechanisms for survival in high altitudes. Individuals from the treeline populations showed lower annual height growth and lower ice nucleation temperatures compared with those from lower populations. In the same way, individuals from more poleward populations showed lower annual height growth and lower ice nucleation temperatures. Gas exchange, water and nitrogen use efficiency and TSS were also higher in the high altitude populations. The results obtained support the hypothesis of trade-off, because the upper and poleward populations showed more cold resistance but a lower height growth. Additionally, we show that cold resistance mechanisms do not impact the physiological performance, suggesting possible adaptation of the high altitude populations. Low temperatures may be affecting cellular growth instead of photosynthesis, creating a pool of carbohydrates that could participate in cold tolerance. Other abiotic and biotic factors should be also assessed to fully understand the distributional range of Nothofagus species.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Height growth, Los Andes, Photosynthesis, Treeline, Environmental gradients, Ice nucleation.

Hydroclimate variability in the low-elevation Atacama Desert over the last 2500 yr.

Autores:

Gayo, E., Latorre, C., Santoro, C., Maldonado, A., & De Pol-Holz, R.

Resumen:

Paleoclimate reconstructions reveal that Earth system has experienced sub-millennial scale climate changes over the past two millennia in response to internal/external forcing. Although sub-millennial hydroclimate fluctuations have been detected in the central Andes during this interval, the timing, magnitude, extent and direction of change of these events remain poorly defined. Here, we present a reconstruction of hydroclimate variations on the Pacific slope of the central Andes based on exceptionally well-preserved plant macrofossils and associated archaeological remains from a hyperarid drainage (Quebrada Maní, ∼21° S, 1000 m a.s.l.) in the Atacama Desert. During the late Holocene, riparian ecosystems and farming social groups flourished in the hyperarid Atacama core as surface water availability increased throughout this presently sterile landscape. Twenty-six radiocarbon dates indicate that these events occurred between 1050–680, 1615–1350 and 2500–2040 cal yr BP. Regional comparisons with rodent middens and other records suggest that these events were synchronous with pluvial stages detected at higher-elevations in the central Andes over the last 2500 yr. These hydroclimate changes also coincide with periods of pronounced SST gradients in the Tropical Pacific (La Niña-like mode), conditions that are conducive to significantly increased rainfall in the central Andean highlands and flood events in the low-elevation watersheds at inter-annual timescales. Our findings indicate that the positive anomalies in the hyperarid Atacama over the past 2500 yr represent a regional response of the central Andean climate system to changes in the global hydrological cycle at centennial timescales. Furthermore, our results provide support for the role of tropical Pacific sea surface temperature gradient changes as the primary mechanism responsible for climate fluctuations in the central Andes. Finally, our results constitute independent evidence for comprehending the major trends in cultural evolution of prehistoric peoples that inhabited the region.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves:

An Early Holocene task camp (~8.5 ka cal BP) on the coast of the semi-arid north of Chile.

Autores:

Ballester, B., Jackson, D., Carré, M., Maldonado, A., Méndez, C., & Seguel, R.

Resumen:

According to current thinking, the peopling of South America involved a coastal as well as an inland exploitation. Here the authors describe a camp that may denote a transition between the two. As indicated by bifacial tools, the investigation shows that people began to move inland and hunt mammals around 8500 cal BP, perhaps in association with a change in the climate.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Chile, peopling of South America, coastal, inland, shell, midden, bifacies

Mid-Holocene mean climate in the south eastern Pacific and its influence on South America.

Autores:

Carré, M., Azzoug, M., Bentaleb, I., Chase, B., Fontugne, M., & Jackson, D., Ledru, M.P., Maldonado, A., et al

Resumen:

The eastern tropical Pacific plays a key role in the tropical atmospheric circulation and in the global carbon cycle, and assessing the sensitivity of this region to global climate changes is a major challenge facing climatologists. Provided here is a synthesis of proxy records of the mean climate of the mid-Holocene (5–8 ka) along the south eastern Pacific margin and four regions of South America. These regions were selected for the strength and stability of ENSO teleconnections, and located outside the direct influence of the intertropical convergence zone or the southern westerlies in order to avoid the overprinting signal of their insolation-related variations and focus on the relationship between the eastern tropical Pacific and South America. This study is based on a review of published multiproxy data as well as new isotopic data from the Peruvian and Chilean coast. The available evidence indicates that sea-surface temperatures were ∼1–4 °C cooler from the Galapagos to the southern Peruvian coast as a result of increased coastal upwelling forced by changes in longshore windfields. The mean La Niña-like conditions in the eastern South Pacific were associated to aridity in southern Brazil and along the whole South American Pacific coast from central Chile to the Galapagos, and to wetter conditions on the western central Andes. This regional synthesis provides a coherent picture of the South American mean climate that is very similar to the modern precipitation pattern observed during La Niña conditions, suggesting that atmospheric teleconnections linking the South Eastern Pacific to these continental areas were similar in the middle Holocene.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves:

Evaluation of sediment trace metal records as paleoproductivity and paleoxygenation proxies in the upwelling center off Concepción, Chile (36°S)

Autores:

Muñoz, P., Dezileau, L., Lange, C., Cardenas, L., Sellanes, J., Salamanca, M., & Maldonado, A.

Resumen:

This study analyzes the records of several trace metals sensitive to redox conditions in continental shelf sediments off Concepción, Chile (36°S). The continental margin off Concepción (36°S; 73°W) lies beneath an important upwelling center characterized by high primary production rates and, consequently, high fluxes of organic matter. In spring and summer, this material settles to the seafloor where it decays, producing periods of very low oxygen content in bottom waters (<1 mL L−1). In addition, an oxygen minimum zone develops at ∼100–400 m water depth, where dissolved oxygen levels are <0.5 mL L−1. This situation changes during strong El Niño events, when dissolved oxygen at the bottom increases drastically (>1 mL L−1).

Año: 2012

Palabras claves:

Rodent middens reveal episodic, long-distance plant colonizations across the hyperarid Atacama Desert over the last 34,000 years.

Autores:

Díaz, F., Latorre, C., Maldonado, A., Quade, J., & Betancourt, J.

Resumen:

Five middens span the last glacial period (34–21 ka) and three middens are from the last glacial–interglacial transition (19–11 ka). The remaining 13 middens span the last 7000 years. Coastal hyperarid sites exhibit low taxonomic richness in middens at 19.3, 1.1, 1.0, 0.9, 0.5 ka and a modern sample. Middens are also dominated by the same plants that occur today. In contrast, middens dated to 28.1, 21.3, 17.3, 3.7 and 0.5 ka contain more species, including Andean extralocals. Precordillera middens (c. 2700 m) show a prominent increase in plant macrofossil richness, along with the appearance of Andean extralocals and sedges at 34.5 and 18.9 ka. Six younger middens dated to 6.1–0.1 ka are similar to the modern local vegetation.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Abrocoma;aridland palaeoecology;Atacama Desert;fog oases;hyperarid environments;late Quaternary;Lomas vegetation;Phyllotis;rodent middens

Combining information from benthic community analysis and social studies to establish no-take zones within a multiple uses marine protected area

Autores:

Rojas-Nazar, Ú., Gaymer, C., Squeo, F., Garay-Flühmann, R., & López, D.

Resumen:

A decision support tool was used to determine priority sites for marine conservation within the Isla Grande de Atacama multiple uses marine protected area (MUMPA) in northern Chile, based on both biological and social information. Scuba diving, and an unweighted paired-group method using arithmetic average (UPGMA) analyses were used to determine the main benthic communities found in the shallow rocky and soft-sediment subtidal.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Chile;coastal marine conservation;conservation costs;multiple uses marine protected area;benthic ecology;social ecology

The ecology, distribution and conservation status of Myrcianthes coquimbensis : a globally endangered endemic shrub of the Chilean Coastal Desert

Autores:

García-Guzman, P., Loayza, A., Carvajal, D., Letelier, L., & Squeo, F.

Resumen:

The current distribution of M. coquimbensis extends along 82.8 km of the Chilean coast, where the species is mainly threatened by habitat loss. Only 13% of the individuals flowered during 2010, and 66% of these plants lost their entire flower crop due to desiccation. Few seeds (7.5%) were lost to post-dispersal seed predation. The populations are composed mainly of adult plants (70% of the individuals), and little to no recruitment was observed.

Año: 2012

Palabras claves: Atacama Desert, Chile, conservation biology, habitat loss, Myrtaceae, restricted-range species,