, Volume 822, Issue 1, pp 203–216 | Cite as

Cladocera in shallow lakes from the Ecuadorian Andes show little response to recent climate change

  • A. L. LabajEmail author
  • N. Michelutti
  • J. P. Smol
Primary Research Paper


Lakes of the Andean páramo are critical water reservoirs for millions of people. Páramo ecosystems have experienced anthropogenic warming faster than the global average. Recent paleolimnological work from Cajas National Park (southern Ecuador) revealed striking shifts in diatoms and Cladocera linked to climate change. However, the impacts on shallow lakes (< 5 m deep), which are numerically dominant on the landscape, remain poorly understood. Here, we use paleolimnology to investigate cladoceran species changes and responses to climate change in three shallow waterbodies from Cajas. Each system supported abundant littoral Cladocera. The deepest site (~ 4 m) contained the highest proportion of pelagic taxa, while the shallowest (~ 0.3 m) contained almost exclusively littoral taxa. Cladoceran assemblages in these shallow lakes reflect littoral habitat, likely partly influenced by shifting precipitation, and in one site, construction of a small rock dam. The cladoceran assemblage shifts do not align with regional temperature increases and reduced wind speeds, contrasting the ecological responses previously recorded in nearby deeper lakes. Although these polymictic, ice-free shallow systems are not immune to climate-related change, algal and cladoceran assemblages in nearby deeper lakes are responding earlier and more sensitively to recent climate changes, largely through changes to lake thermal stratification regimes.


Paleolimnology Zooplankton Stratification Páramo Ponds Cajas National Park 



We thank Chris Grooms for assistance in the field. We also wish to thank the staff of Cajas National Park and ETAPA (in particular Juan Carlos Quezada Ledesma, Pablo Vernardo Mosquera Vintimilla and José Caceres) for assistance with research permits and logistics. Two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments on this manuscript. This work was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) award to JPS, an NSERC postgraduate award to ALL, and a Queen’s University Travel Award to ALL.

Supplementary material

10750_2018_3681_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (1.9 mb)
Online Resource 1 Air temperature and wind speed from the Cañar meteorological station, located ~ 30 km east of Cajas. A LOESS smoother (polynomial degree = 1) with span 0.05 (air temperature) and 0.33 (wind speed) was used to visualize trends in the data. Supplementary material 1 (JPEG 1916 kb)
10750_2018_3681_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (1.2 mb)
Online Resource 2 Photograph of the dam constructed at an outlet stream of Apicocha. Supplementary material 2 (JPEG 1197 kb)
10750_2018_3681_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (1.1 mb)
Online Resource 3 210Pb activity and age-depth model for each of the three shallow lakes. Supplementary material 3 (JPEG 1150 kb)
10750_2018_3681_MOESM4_ESM.jpg (2 mb)
Online Resource 4 Photomicrographs of each of the unidentified, numbered taxa. Supplementary material 4 (JPEG 2016 kb)
10750_2018_3681_MOESM5_ESM.jpg (621 kb)
Online Resource 5 Average rarefied species richness of each of the shallow (grey) and deep (black) lakes. Dashed lines represent means of shallow (grey) and deep (black) lakes. Supplementary material 5 (JPEG 621 kb)
10750_2018_3681_MOESM6_ESM.jpg (2.8 mb)
Online Resource 6 Photograph of Apicocha, showing high water mark on rocks and shoreline. Supplementary material 6 (JPEG 2866 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL), Department of BiologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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