Potential heterogeneity in crustacean zooplankton assemblages in southern chilean saline lakes
- The Chilean saline lakes are distributed mainly in the Atacama desert in northern Chile and the southern Patagonian plains. The scarce studies are restricted mainly to northern Chilean saline lakes, and these revealed that the main component in these ecosystems are the halophylic copepod Boeckella poopoensis Marsh 1906, or the brine shrimp Artemia franciscana (Kellog, 1906), and both species do not coexist. The present study consisted of field observations in zooplankton assemblages in southern Chilean saline lakes (51-53 degrees S). These first observations revealed three different patterns, one saline lake only with A. persimilis (Piccinelli and Prosdocimi, 1968), a second lake only with B. poopensis, and a third lake with A. persimilis, B. poopoensis and unidentified harpacticoid copepod. These results are different in comparison with the observations in the literature that described the non-coexistence between B. poopoensis with brine shrimps. Ecological and biogeographical topics were discussed.