Located in the cerro of Cubilche, a volcano at 2600 meters of elevation, there is the most beautiful and pristine lake we sampled so far in Ecuador during the three-week fieldwork campaign. Cubilche is an Andean Páramo lake, volcanic in origin, and is covered by semi-permanent clouds that confers a characteristic limnology: cold and relatively acidic waters and very transparent. The lake is circular in shape, having a maximum depth of 2.5 m. Apparently there are two smaller temporary lakes which were dry during our visit. With the unforgettable help of Javier and Jose Mariano, we reached the top of the mountain by hiking more than 2 hours. Most of the pictures we had avoid getting a nice view of the lakes due to the dense fog. This has been the norm during the last sampling days: sunny and warm at the valley, and cloudy-rainy and cold at the top of the mountains! Anyway, I would never change the experience!
According to our knowledge, there are no previous works on the diatom flora of this lake, either modern or fossil assemblages. It is therefore promising to analyze the species composition of the samples we took: sediment core for paleoclimatic reconstructions, and periphyton for diversity and biogeography. I´m really looking forward to prepare diatom slides (and count them).
More updates on Ecuadorian´s lakes fieldwork very soon!