Our last fieldwork in Ecuador was very successful in multiple levels. Besides the 16 total lakes sampled, two lakes from Cajas NP, in Cuenca, were in our priority list but not monitored during that trip. These two lakes are Llaviucu (also known as Surocucho) and Fondococha. Laguna Llaviucu is an iconic lake, since some authors reported it as a pristine ecosystem, and results in studies that correlate limnological changes with climate change impacts solely. However, local sources and Ecuadorean scientists explained us that for more than 30 years, a trout farm was established there. In order to provide an alternative hypothesis, we are collaborating with the Paleolimnology group of the University of Bern. The Swiss group recovered a 1.2m core from Llaviucu to reconstruct its paleoclimatic history, and test hyphotesis about El Niño-Southern Oscillation variability. Our collaboration seeks to use diatoms as biological proxy of limnological change through time.
I must to say that the Paleolimnology group in UniBern offered all the facilities to sub-sample material for diatom analysis. Specially, I would like to thank Tobias Schneider, who kindly welcomed me during the 2-days stay at the lab. Also Martin Grosjean, for letting us sample the mud. Not all was work at Bern, and we also enjoyed the beautiful downtown of the city, with its calm and clean streets plenty of bars and bikes (unlocked) parked outside! Definitely, a worth place to visit and stay! Below, I share with you some pics of Bern.