Publication: Fog-dependent Vegetation as Bio-indicator for Changing Environmental Conditions in the Coastal Atacama Desert
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Web: ... ISSN:
Year: 2014 ISBN:
Language: Inglés External Link: ...
Type: Abstract
 
Summary:
Fog ecosystems of the coastal Atacama Desert are sensitive indicators of climate change within a hyperarid environment because of their direct association to mid-to-long term variation in nearby oceanographic and atmospheric elements. A major component of these coastal fog-oases are the bromeliads Tillandsia spp., a well-adapted, rootless desert plant species forming discrete vegetation patches on the coastal relief of the Atacama coast. Despite its potential as a key biosensor of climate variability of the coastal Atacama, major knowledge gaps remain regarding the biogeographic distribution of Tillandsia spp. ecosystems and how these respond to climate change. For instance, geologic and geochemical data show significant variations of Tillandsia landbeckii ecosystems to regional climate anomalies (e.g., affected by fog intensity, cloud thickness and elevation), revealing its aptitude as an environmental proxy in the coastal Atacama. The overall goal of this interdisciplinary work is to understand the relationship between the geoecological niche of Tillandsia spp., its connection to the historical strato cumulus behavior, oceanic upwelling and solar radiation as well as the spatial extension and dynamics of the plants. Based on the forecasting of future spatial behavior of fog and its function as a water resource under different climatic scenarios, this knowledge will contribute to establish Tillandsia spp. as a bio-indicator of climate change.
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