Reconstructing recent environmental changes using non-biting midges (Diptera: Chironomidae) in two high mountain lakes from northern Patagonia, Argentina

  • Fernanda Montes de Oca
  • Luciana Motta
  • María Sofía Plastani
  • Cecilia Laprida
  • Andrea Lami
  • Julieta Massaferro
Original paper


Remote lakes of northern Patagonia are ideal sites for examining climate- and non-climate-driven changes in aquatic ecosystems because there is little evidence of human influence and there is no detailed information on recent environmental trends in the region (i.e. the last 200 years). Subfossil chironomids (Diptera: Chironomidae) are useful paleoindicators due to their specific response to numerous environmental factors. Here, we analyze the chironomid subfossil assemblages from two remote lakes located in different environmental settings in Nahuel Huapi National Park of northern Patagonia, Argentina. Chironomids combined with sedimentary pigments (chlorophyll derivatives and total carotenoids) and organic matter provided information on the environmental history of the lakes for the last ca. 200 years. The 210Pb chronology and tephra layers are used to establish the chronology of changes in the chironomid assemblages associated to different environmental factors that impacted the area during the period covered by the study. The deposition of volcanic ash affected the abundance and composition of chironomid assemblage throughout the record of both lakes. However, changing climate conditions and human activities are also responsible for chironomid changes in the last 50 years.


Subfossil chironomids High mountain lakes Environmental impact Northern Patagonia 



This study was funded by Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT, PICT2012-2931) Granted to J. Massaferro. We specially thank Jasmine Saros from University of Maine (United States), for dating analysis and we wish to thank Alex Correa-Metrio for his helping with the age modeling and discussion. We are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive contributions.

Supplementary material

10933_2017_9957_MOESM1_ESM.tif (1.5 mb)
Electronic Supplementary Fig. 1 Bayesian age-depht model performed with Bacon software (Blaauw and Christen 2011) for Lake Verde, showing modeled age versus depth plot, gray shaded area represents 95% probability range. The arrow and triangle indicate the position of the ash layer (not included in the model) along the core. (TIFF 1585 kb)
10933_2017_9957_MOESM2_ESM.tif (484 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Fig. 2 Bayesian age-depht model performed with Bacon software (Blaauw and Christen 2011) for Lake Toncek, showing modeled age versus depth plot, gray shaded area represents 95% probability range. Arrows and triangles indicate the position of the ash layers (not included in the model) along the core. (TIFF 484 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONICET, CENAC/APNAdministración de Parques NacionalesBarilocheArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Estudios Andinos Don Pablo Groeber UBA-CONICET, Departamento de Ciencias GeológicasUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Istituto per lo Studio degli Ecosistemi (ISE-CNR)Verbania-PallanzaItaly

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