CSIC leads a project to study an ecosystem in one of the largest accumulation of lithium and potassium in the world

12th March 2019

  • CSIC signed a scientific cooperation agreement with Chilean mining company SQM Salar SA to enhance the environmental monitoring plan, with the aim of evaluating the state of the systems of the Salar de Atacama
  • With this agreement we expect better understand one of the most arid ecosystems on the planet

The project will study soils, vegetation, terrestrial fauna and aquatic biota. The researcher Eulalia Moreno, from the Experimental Station of Arid Zones, who will be responsible for the team, explains the details of the project: “The environmental components that we have to evaluate are practically all those that form the Salar de Atacama ecosystem: microorganisms, soil, water, flora, fauna and other aquatic organisms. For this reason, in the CSIC we have formed a team of researchers who are experts in these matters, belonging to seven of its institutes. ”

The team of researchers is formed by Marc Ventura Oller and Emilio Ortega-Casamayor, from the Advanced Studies Center of Blanes (CEAB); Carlos García Izquierdo, of the Center for Edaphology and Applied Biology of Segura (CEBAS); Andrew J. Green and Francisco J. Palomares Fernández, of the Biological Station of Doñana (EBD); Francisco Valera Hernández, Cristina Armas Kulik and Eulalia Moreno Mañas, from the Experimental Station of Arid Zones (EEZA); Enric Vazquez-Suñé, from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA); Yolanda Pueyo Estaun, from the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE); and José Martín Rueda, from the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN).

Phases in the project
The project will be developed in two phases. In the first, the current Biotic Environmental Monitoring Plan (“PSAB”) will be reviewed, as well as the data that has been used for its preparation, all provided by the company.

In the second phase, CSIC team will propose corrections and improvements for the optimization of the revised PSAB during the first phase in order to incorporate the most recent research and the most innovative scientific advances worldwide. “The objective is to better understand the biotic and abiotic systems that will be protected, identify their demands and needs and, from them, propose the necessary improvements to the existing Monitoring Plan,” says Eulalia Moreno.

Press releases:

CSIC Press release – Salar of Atacama

 La Vanguardia


 Europa Press

 El Periódico de la Energía

 Fundación Descubre


 CSIC Delegation in Andalusia and Extremadura


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