Dr Gabriela Eguren Iriarte, Facultad de Ciencias
Human activities can modify the functioning of natural ecosystems on a local and / or regional scale, and cause changes in processes that occur on a global scale. In that sense, there is substantial evidence that the polar regions are experiencing a rapid and pronounced rise in temperature, with significant consequences on aquatic ecosystems. Some lakes and lagoons are losing ice cover for longer periods, have partially or completely dried up and others have formed in recent years by the accelerated melting of permanent ice. The islands located to the North and along the western edge of the Antarctic Peninsula are considered excellent references of the environmental change and present designated areas of scientific interest. The Fildes Peninsula (King George Island) is one such area and presents a great diversity and abundance of surface freshwater bodies, several of which form a system of shallow pools associated with the Bellingshausen Glacier Dome. In this project an analysis of the physical, chemical and biotic characteristics of the bottom deposits as well as the water column of these pools will be carried out. This will allow deepening the knowledge of the macro-scale and macro-scale dynamics of these systems, in order to measure the magnitude of the changes and their temporal variability, as well as their responsiveness. Based on the interpretation of the background records as well as the current conditions of the lakes system, it is proposed to reconstruct past climate changes, generate a model of environmental evolution and project future scenarios. The results obtained will not only contribute to the knowledge of the origin and evolution of the Antarctic aquatic ecosystems, but its extrapolation will allow to infer the potential changes in other latitudes in front of different scenarios of climatic variability.