Ecological functioning of a eutrophic, high-altitude shallow lake in Ecuador, Laguna Yahuarcocha

Pauline Saelens Pauline Saelens

Ecological functioning of a eutrophic, high-altitude shallow lake in Ecuador, Laguna Yahuarcocha

Tropische meren gelegen in de bergen vormen een aparte categorie van tropische meren. Door de positie op de evenaar is er een kleine variatie in de seizoensgebonden temperatuur. De grote hoogte resulteert echter in een relatief lage temperatuur. Yahuarcocha is een ondiep tropisch meer gelegen op een hoge hoogte (2192 m) op de evenaar. In juni 2014 is er een enorme algenbloei opgetreden. Deze algenbloei kan het hele jaar aanhouden, in tegenstelling tot de meren in gematigde regio's, en heeft een negatief effect op de kwaliteit van het water. De primaire oorzaak van de algenbloei is de invloei van voedingsstoffen en hierdoor is restauratie van het meer aanbevolen. Het meer werd gedurende één jaar bemonsterd en een reeks van experimenten werden uitgevoerd. Wij evalueerden enkele belangrijke parameters van Yahuarcocha, met inbegrip van fysisch-chemische parameters (bijvoorbeeld zuurstof, voedingstoffen en hydrologie), biologische parameters (zoals plankton en aquatische vegetatie) en evaluatie van biomanipulatie als mogelijke restauratie strategie. Het doel van biomanipulatie is om de schadelijke algenbloeien te verwijderen via verschuivingen in voedselwebben bijvoorbeeld door roofdieren toe te voegen of te verwijderen. Wij kwamen tot de conclusie dat biomanipulatie niet kan worden toegepast in Yahuarcocha: in de eerste plaats omdat de aquatische vegetatie niet geschikt is als schuilplaats voor het plankton doordat er zich een groot aantal jonge vis bevindt tussen de vegetatie. Ten tweede, het plankton kan niet goed grazen op de algenbloei en ten derde, er zijn geen visetende vis soorten aanwezig in het meer. Voor de eerste stap in de management van Yahuarcocha zou de instroom van voedingsstoffen afkomstig van afvalwater en de landbouw moeten verlagen. De tweede stap is het verminderen van de voedingsstoffen in het water en het voorkomen van het vrijkomen van fosfor uit de sedimenten met behulp van baggerwerk.



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