The Ecology and paleoecology of continental aquatic environments (acronym in Spanish: EPAACO) is a newly created (april 2010) multidisciplinary research team, which bring together researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students, who were individually working in different aspects of ecology and paleoecology of continental aquatic systems. The idea grew out as a way of complementing, linking and integrating the results obtained in each disciplinary area by individual staff members. From this integration on, it was possible to coordinate the multiplicity of indicators and approaches, allowing tracking in an independent way, the variations of different parameters or signals, contributing to more reliable and accurate interpretations, explanations and predictions.

Objectives:
To understand the modern dynamics of continental aquatic systems (shallow lakes) of the Pampa plain.
To reconstruct their environmental evolution during the late Quaternary from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The research lines encompass diverse aspects of the dynamic and functioning of continental aquatic systems (shallow lakes), which are needed to reconstruct their environmental evolution during the Holocene in the Pampa plain. For this purpose, we are working on actualistic models about population dynamic of different biological indicators (they will be the proxies from which past changes will be inferred), their interspecific relationships and with environmental variables. We also study the dynamic and trophic interactions between producers and consumers (macroinvertebrates and fish) to determine the energy flux between compartments (littoral and pelagic). Other key points are to know the processes that promote destruction of the biological remains within sediments (taphonomy) as well as the environmental dynamic of water bodies and the effect of climate change and human impact on their dynamic. The combination between the ecological and paleolimnological approach, together with the multidisciplinary emphasis, allow obtaining a complete knowledge of the patterns and processes of ecological changes in shallow lakes, at different temporal scales.
At present, we distinguish the following lines and sub-lines:
Limnology
Interactions and trophic dynamic in shallow lakes. Determination of the energy flux between lake compartments through the analysis of stable isotopes of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N).
Alternations between turbid and clear phases. Distribution of organisms in relation to physico-chemical variables.

Actualistic Taphonomy
Fidelity and preservation of mollusks, ostracods and diatoms. Comparison between lotic and lenthic systems. Determination of the vertical extent and dynamics of the Taphonomically Active Zone (TAZ).

Paleolimnology
Analysis of biological multiproxies (diatoms, pollen, non-pollen palinomorphs, plant macrofossil remains and associated fauna, ostracods, mollusks) in sedimentary records.
Paleoclimatology
Paleoclimatic reconstructions based on qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Aerobiology
Study of the composition and dynamic of plant communities from wetlands and record of phenologic variations of key species as response to changes in environmental conditions (human impact and climate change) based on the analysis of atmospheric pollen.
Production and transport of pollen belonging to native species with high interest for conservation; quality of urban air and its relationship to allergies.

Director
Dr. Claudio G. De Francesco
Researcher CONICET.

Professor

Co-Director
Dra. Silvina M. Stutz
Researcher CONICET.

Professor

Researchers
Dra. Laura Ferrero
Professor
Dra. María de los Ángeles
González Sagrario
Researcher CONICET
Dra. Gabriela S. Hassan
Researcher CONICET.

Teaching assistant

Dra. Fabiana Latorre
Researcher

CONICET.

Professor

Teaching assistant

Dra. Marcela S. Tonello
Researcher CONICET
Dra. Mariana del Sol Addino
Researcher

CONICET

Dra. Eleonor Tietze
Researcher

CONICET