ISLA Federico Ignacio
Modern diatom assemblages in surface sediments from estuarine systems in the southeastern Buenos Aires Provincia, Argentina
Journal of Paleolimnology
Lugar: Rotterdam; Año: 2006 vol. 35 p. 39 - 53
Paleoecological reconstructions of Holocene sea-level changes in Argentinean coastal regions were based mainly on ecological data gathered from other regions, as there was a lack of information on modern estuarine diatom distributions. The aim of the present work was to assess the spatial variation of diatom assemblages in two representative estuaries of Argentina in order to gather ecological information for paleoecological reconstructions in the region. The two selected estuaries have different geomorphologic features and salinity regimes: Mar Chiquita Lagoon is shallow, which prevents the development of a stable salinity gradient as it occurs in the Queque´n Grande River. Surface sediment samples were taken from selected stations representative of the environmental gradient from the inlet to the inner reaches of both estuaries. Cluster analysis defined three diatom zones at Mar Chiquita: marine/brackish assemblages dominate the inlet (zone I), where salinity, tidal range and current speed are higher. The brackish/fresh- water tychoplankton Staurosira construens var. venter and Staurosirella pinnata dominate the inner lagoon (zone II), where environmental conditions are very variable and concentrations of suspended sediments are higher. Brackish/freshwater euryhaline diatoms dominate the headwaters (zone III). On the other hand, the Queque´n Grande River was divided into three diatom zones: coastal taxa are distributed at the inlet (zone I), while the middle estuary (zone II) is dominated by brackish/freshwater euryhaline taxa. At the upper estuary region (zone III), freshwater diatoms dominate, and the halophobous Nitzschia denticula increased in abundance values. Diatom distributions were most closely related to the salinity gradient at Queque´n Grande River than at Mar Chiquita Lagoon. Fossil data of a sequence from Mar Chiquita Lagoon (Las Gallinas Creek) were compared to the modern data set in order to search for analogies between fossil and modern diatom assemblages. DCA results showed that fossil diatom assemblages have modern coun- terparts. Most diatom assemblages of Las Gallinas Creek fall within Mar Chiquita zone III, representing a shallow brackish/freshwater environment, with low salinity fluctuations (  1?9&) and no tidal influence. Therefore, our modern diatom data provide useful analogs to interpret paleoenvironments in the region.