INSTITUTO DE LIMNOLOGIA "DR. RAUL A. RINGUELET"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
GLOBAL CHANGES IN PAMPEAN LOWLAND STREAM (ARGENTINA): IMPLICATIONS FOR BIODIVERSITY AND FUNCTIONING
RODRIGUES CAPÍTULO, A., N. GÓMEZ, C. FEIJOO
Abstract The rivers and streams in the Pampean plains are characterized by a low flow rate due to the low slope of the surrounding terrain, high levels of suspended solids, silty sediment in the benthos, and reduced rithron; the riparian forest of this region has been replaced by low-altitude grasslands. Many of these environments contain a wide coverage of aquatic reeds, both submerged and floating, making the pampas limologically extraordinary. These environments have undergone a gradual transformation in response to the progress of urbanization and agricultural activity in recent years with a resulting loss of biodiversity, leaving only few sites that continue to reflect the original characteristics of the region. Because of human activities in combination with the global climate change, variations have occurred in biological communities that are reflected in the structure and function of populations and assemblages of algae, macrophytes, and invertebrate fauna or in the eutrophication of affected ecosystems. The objective of this article is to describe the principal limnologic characteristics of the streams that traverse the Buenos Aires Province and relate these features with the predicted future global changes for the area under study. Considering the future climate-change scenarios proposed for the pampean area, the projected increment in rainfall will affect the biological communities. Higher rainfall may increase the erosion and generate floodings; increasing the transport of sediments, nutrients, and contaminants to the ocean and affecting the degree of water mineralization. Changes in discharge and turbidity may affect light penetration in the water column as well as its residence time. The modifications in the use of the soil will probably favor the input of nutrients. This latter effect will benefit autotrophy, particularly by those species capable of generating strategies for surviving in more turbid and enriched environments. An accelerated eutrophication will change the composition of the consumers in favor of herbivores and detritivores. The increase in global population projected for the next years will demand more food, and this situation coupled with the new scenarios of climate change will lead to profound socioeconomic changes in the pampean area, implying an increase in demand for water resources and land uses.