Changes in trophic status of the shallow Lake La Brava (southeastern Pampa plain of Argentina) are evaluated based on geochemical, biological and sedimentological data. Based on a conceptual framework, we propose that the lake level defines the water column mixing conditions, affecting internal lake processes and determining the transparency of lake water. The shift between alternative states is reconstructed for the last ~4800 years. Four main lake stages have been recognized, although short term shifts characterize all stages. A turbid phytoplankton-dominated state prevailed between ~4700-4500 cal yr before present (BP). Drier conditions and low lake levels pushed the lake to a clear state until 2000 cal yr BP. Afterwards the lake switched back to a turbid state, and these conditions persisted until ~200 cal yr BP. In the last 200 years, the lake switched back and forth between clear and turbid states. The latter represents the modern conditions of the lake since ~1950 AD. These shifts can be attributed mainly to climatic drivers.
Mid-late Holocene; paleolimnology; trophic states; southern Pampas; Argentina.