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Revista chilena de historia natural

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MUNOZ-SCHICK, MÉLICA; PINTO, RAQUEL; MESA, ALDO  and  MOREIRA-MUNOZ, ANDRÉS. Fog oases during the El Niño Southern Oscillation 1997-1998, in the coastal hills south of Iquique, Tarapacá region, Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2001, vol.74, n.2, pp.389-405. ISSN 0716-078X.

The flora of four fog oases in the northern Chilean coastal desert, visited between October 1997 and January 1998, is described. These botanical collections are new for Alto Patache, Punta Lobos and Alto Chipana. A total of 72 vascular plant species were registered, contributing to the area´s floristic knowledge, where till now only about 20 species were registered. Three species are new records for the chilean flora: Nolana adansonii (Roem. et Schult.) Johnst., Solanum cfr. montanum L. and Ophryosporus cfr. floribundus (D.C.) King et Rob., and another one Alstroemeria lutea (Muñoz 2000) is a new species. This last one, together with Eulychnia aricensis Ritter, Pyrrhocactus saxifragus Ritter (both Cactaceae) and Nolana intonsa Johnst. (Nolanaceae) are local endemics. Of the total of registered species, 43 % are endemics, 52.7 % are non endemic natives and a low percentage (4.1 %) are foreign species; 47.2 % share their distribution with Perú. The families Asteraceae, Nolanaceae and Solanaceae, are the best represented in the area, each one with more than seven species. Information about special climatic conditions due to El Niño 1997-1998 event is discussed in relationship to the development of the flora and vegetation. In spite of a non significant occurrence of rainfall events, an increase in temperature and in the fog's water content is detected. These conditions favor the development of more exuberant vegetation and the expansion of the distribution range of some floristic elements

Keywords : desert coastal flora and vegetation; northern Chile; fog oases; lomas formation; El Niño (ENSO) 1997-1998.

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