Partnership collaboration with the South

JEAI : TracIng the TrIgger mechanisms of eutrophiCAtion and. ContAmination of andean aquatic ecosystems (Bolivia) (TITICACA)

Département Dynamiques internes et de surface des continents ( DEPARTEMENT DISCO )

Département Ecologie, biodiversité et fonctionnement des écosystèmescontinentaux (DEPARTEMENT ECOBIO)

Country : Bolivie

Region : Amérique Latine et Caraïbes

Year of creation : 2019

End of IRD support : 2021

Scientific objectives and research project

Lake Titicaca is the only great lake in the world without any survey program, which makes it vulnerable regarding the increasing pressure of anthropogenic activities and climate change. Since it is located at 3800 m.a.s.l. in the tropical region it is subject to extreme daily and seasonal changes in physicochemical as well as biological characteristics. It is challenging, consequently, to identify significant changes related to climate change or anthropogenic pressure with single point observations. Therefore, the vulnerability of this important and unique ecosystem is still to be understood. Such comprehension is also crucial to develop the ability to predict the future fate and behavior of important events such as algal blooms and their related impacts on the water quality at short time scales (hours to days) is necessary to preserve this ecosystem. The development of an observation and survey system would allow to pressure predictions of all kinds and use complex models that are underpinned by observations.Without high quality observation data to constrain predictive models any forecasts of the biogeochemical and ecological functioning of the lake are highly unreliable. The installation of an observational in situ monitoring platform including IRD patented innovative water sensors, associated with weekly to monthly field sampling will provide well documented observations of the essential biogeochemical and limnological variables such as dissolved elements (nutrients, metals etc…), particles and biota (microbes, biofilm, plankton), light climate (UVPAR) properties with temporal, horizontal and vertical resolution.
The first objective of the TITICACA project is to develop and set-up an observational network in Lake Titicaca in order to better understand the reactivity, behavior and fate of the lake in response to human pressure (e.g., eutrophication and algal blooms) and to create an alert system to protect this fragile emblematic ecosystem. The second objective of this project is to build up a “buffering” decontamination system (filtering garden) for the treatment of polluted water (wastewater) by phytoremediation using a combination of totoras (endemic sedge) and periphyton to reduce urban emission of residual waters to the Lake.

IRD units involved

1R21900 : ISTERRE

1R23400 : GET

Member Institutions

UMSA : Universidad Mayor de San Andrès


M. X

Scientific disciplines

Sciences de la Terre et de l'univers, espace Sciences agronomiques et écologiques

Research topics

Finally, the third objective is the building of capacities and transfer knowledge (i.e., students, technical staff and researchers) to follow and improve set up devices and knowledge on the biogeochemistry and ecology of the entire Titicaca basin including Peru. Such objective is based on the narrow collaboration and involvement between UMSA and IRD partners in the new multidisciplinary Maestria (Masters) of biology and biogeochemistry, which is currently running with 25 students and is expected to have more students by 2019. Additionally, the faculty of pure and natural science at UMSA is developing a doctoral multidisciplinary program on earth sciences that aims to start sometime in 2019.

Official name Type of partnership Country
Universidad Mayor de San Andrès Institution membre Sud Bolivie
Centre national d'études spatiales Partenaire lié France
Centre national de la recherche scientifique - France Partenaire lié France
Institut de recherche pour le développement Partenaire lié France
Institut de recherche pour le développement Partenaire lié France
Muséum national d'histoire naturelle Partenaire lié France
Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier Partenaire lié France
IRD code Acronym Implication
1R21900 ISTERRE Porteuses principales
1R23400 GET Porteuses secondaires