Extreme events in the San Matías gulf

Extreme events (higher intensity or duration) of wind and rain have become more frequent and significantly alter aquatic coastal ecosystems, as they produce increased mixing and turbidity. In this study, we worked with five phytoplankton communities from the San Matías gulf (Northern Patagonia) covering a gradient of environmental variability and anthropogenic exposure. These communities were subjected to simulated extreme weather events (rain, wind) under a global change scenario of increased temperature and nutrients, and decreased pH, and their responses were compared with those obtained under current environmental conditions. Our results reveal that these extreme weather events are extremely important – both ecologically and in terms of conservation and management, as their impacts on coastal primary productivity may exceed those predicted under a global change scenario.

This work was carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Estación de Fotobiología Playa Unión, the Universidad Nacional del Comahue and the Universidad de Granada (Spain). Founding for this work was provided by Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Agencia Nacional de Promoción de la Investigación, el Desarrollo Tecnológico y la Innovación (Agencia I+D+i), Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (Iniciativa Pampa Azul) and Fundación Playa Unión.  The activities of Dr. Cabrerizo were founded by Junta de Andalucía, Universidad de Granada, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación from Spain and Fundación Playa Unión.

Complete reference: Helbling, E.W, V.E.Villafañe, M.A. Narvarte, G.M. Burgueño, J.F. Saad, R.A. González & M.J. Cabrerizo. 2024. The impact of extreme weather events exceeds those due to global-change drivers on coastal phytoplankton assemblages. Science of the Total Environment, 918: 170644.

Coast of San Matías gulf after an extreme rain event