2) The Cordillera Vilcanota in southern Peru, specifically the
area near Laguna Sibinacocha and the Quelccaya Ice Cap. The Laguna Sibinacocha
watershed is one of the primary headwaters for the Amazon River, and the lake
itself is used in the generation of hydroelectric power. At an elevation of
4,873 m asl and stretching over 15 km long and nearly 3 km wide, Laguna
Sibinacocha is one of the largest high alpine lakes in the world.
Laguna Toreadora in Cajas National Park. Paleolimnological data show
unprecedented diatom shifts within the past century that can be related
to climatic changes of recent decades (Michelutti et al 2015, PLoS ONE).
Laguna Fondo Cocha in Cajas National Park.
Throughout the equatorial Andes, most lakes have
traditionally been characterized by waters that circulate continuously,
with only rare episodes of stratification. However, this categorization
has scarcely been challenged in light of accelerated regional warming
that has occurred over the past 30 years. Recent temperature probe data
collected over one calendar year show that protracted periods of
thermal stratification are presently the norm, not the exception, in
equatorial mountain lakes.
Lake coring at over 5000 m asl. The Quelccaya Ice
Cap, seen in the upper left background, is located only 3 km away.
Preparing to core a small
lake at about 4000m in
Cajas National Park, Ecuador 2015.
Photo by Chris Grooms.
Preparing to core a large
lake at about 4950m in the
Cordillera Vilcanota of Peru, September 2015. Photo by N. Michelutti.
Core taken from a large lake in
the Cordillera Vilcanota of Peru. Photo by N. Michelutti.
Shot taken from
the head of a bay of Lake Sibinacocha
in the Cordillera
Vilcanota of Peru. Photo by N. Michelutti.
The wild camelid,
of the high Andes, Peru. ||
The Cordillera Vilcanota contains the largest of all
tropical glaciers. The Quelccaya Ice Cap (QIC), is pictured above with
alpacas grazing in the foreground. The QIC has been extensively studied
in the context of climate-glacier dynamics since the 1970s. There are
several lakes located near the QIC at elevations near and above 5000m asl that
would allow for comparisons between ice core and lake sediment records
of environmental change.|
|Google Earth Engine imagery of
the Sibinacocha study area.||
Publications from this project:
Michelutti N, Wolfe AP, Cooke CA, Hobbs WO, Vuille M, Smol JP (2015) Climate
Change Forces New Ecological States in Tropical Andean Lakes. PLoS ONE 10(2):
N., Cooke, C.C., Hobbs, W.O., and Smol, J.P. 2015. Climate-driven changes in
lakes from the Peruvian Andes. J. Paleolimnol 54:153–160.
Michelutti N, Labaj A, Grooms C, & Smol JP. 2016. Equatorial
mountain lakes show extended periods of thermal stratification with
recent climate change.
J. Limnol., 2016;
75(2): 403-408 DOI: 10.4081/jlimnol.2015.1444.
Michelutti, N., Lemmen JL, Cooke CA, Hobbs WO, Wolfe AP, Kurek J, &
Smol JP (2016) Assessing the effects of climate and volcanism on diatom and
chironomid assemblages in an Andean lake near Quito, Ecuador. J Limnol., 2016;
75(2): 275-286 DOI:
Labaj, A., Michelutti, N., and Smol, J.P. 2017.
Changes in cladoceran assemblages from tropical high mountain lakes during
periods of recent climate change. J Plankton Res (2017) 39 (2): 211-219.
Michelutti, N., Sowell, P., Tapia, P.,
Grooms, C., Polo, M., Sponza, A., Ausejo, C., and Smol, J.P. 2019. A pre-Inca
pot from underwater ruins discovered in an Andean lake provides a sedimentary
record of marked hydrological change. Scientific Reports 9:19193 |
Giles, M.P., Michelutti, N., Grooms, C.,
and Smol, J.P. 2018. Long-term limnological changes in the Ecuadorian páramo:
Comparing the ecological responses to climate warming of shallow versus deep
Freshwater Biology 63: 1316-1325. DOI: 10.1111/fwb.13159.
Michelutti, N., Tapia, P.M., Labaj, A.L.,
Grooms, C., and Smol, J.P. 2019. A limnological assessment of the diverse
waterscape in the Cordillera Vilcanota, Peruvian Andes.
Inland Waters 9: 395–407.
Labaj, A.L., Michelutti, N., and Smol,
J.P. 2018. Annual stratification patterns in tropical high mountain lakes.
Fundamental and Applied Limnology 191: 267-275. DOI: 10.1127/fal/2018/1151.
Michelutti, N., Tapia, P.M., Grooms, C., Labaj, A., Smol, J.P. 2020. Differing limnological responses to late Holocene climate variability in the Cordillera Vilcanota, Peruvian Andes. J Paleolimnol . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-020-00127-z.
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