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Ecología austral

versión On-line ISSN 1667-782X


LALLEMENT, Mailén Elizabeth; JUAREZ, Santiago Martín; MACCHI, Patricio Jorge  y  VIGLIANO, Pablo Horacio. Puyehue Cordón -Caulle: post-eruption analysis of changes in stream benthic fauna of Patagonia. Ecol. austral [online]. 2014, vol.24, n.1, pp.64-74. ISSN 1667-782X.

Volcanic eruptions are natural phenomena with the most diverse and varied consequences, and have important effects on both terrestrial and aquatic environments. On June 4th, 2011 the volcanic Puyehue Cordón-Caulle complex (2.236 masl, 40º 32´ S-72º 2´ W, Chile) erupted explosively ejecting on the first day, 950 million metric tons of ashes into the atmosphere. Due to predominant westerly winds, 24 million hectares of Argentinian Patagonia were covered by the ashfall. We studied three streams in northwestern Patagonia in order to explore the ash fall impact and possible recovery processes in water quality and macroinvertebrate communities. We selected three streams representing maximum, intermediate and minimum ash deposition levels. For each stream, we selected two sampling sites to measure pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), turbidity (NTU) and to take three macroinvertebrate samples during summer 2012 and 2013. After the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle complex, substantial environmental changes were observed in association with the large amount of ash ejected by the volcano and deposited on the nearest areas. Low benthic fauna densities, as well as low values of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) and Biotic Monitoring Patagonian Streams (BMPS) indexes, reflected changes in water quality due to ash fall, mainly in the two streams closer to the volcano. After eighteen months, the streams had not reached the density, taxa composition and structure of trophic webs comparable to other streams previously studied in the region. The exploratory analysis suggests that the main impact was a consequence of ash fall in terms of the amount and particle size proportions.

Palabras clave : Volcanic ash; Impact; Arthropods; Functional feeding groups; Water quality.

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