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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That gravity drainage is the flow of water towards a well under its own weight [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

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Your search for biogeography (Keyword) returned 30 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 30
Relationships between morphology, genetics and geography in the cave fruit bat Eonycteris spelaea (Dobson, 1871) from Indonesia, 2003, Maharadatunkamsi, Hisheh S. , Kitchener D. J. , Schmitt L. H. ,
Morphological and genetic analyses of Eonycteris spelaea from 15 islands along the Banda Arc, from Sumatra to Timor and including Kalimantan and Sulawesi, revealed considerable divergence between islands and geographical patterning. On the basis of both morphology and genetics, the populations on the large islands of Greater Sunda (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and Sulawesi) are generally distinct from one another and from those on the islands in Nusa Tenggara (Lombok to Timor), which form a more cohesive cluster. These differences may be the result of the Nusa Tenggara populations having been colonized more recently than those on the Greater Sunda, and probably from a single source. All biological measures of the relationships between island populations are positively associated with the extent of the sea-crossing between them, indicating the sea is an important barrier to movement. Multivariate analyses show the presence of a marked trend for body size to increase from west to east. However, individuals from Kalimantan are not consistent with this trend, being smaller than predicted, and on the two outer Banda Are islands of Sumba and Timor animals are a little larger than predicted from the longitudinal trend. These differences could be due to the relative isolation of these populations or differing environmental conditions. There is also a negative relationship between body size and island area, but this is confounded by the longitudinal trend. No significant longitudinal trends in the genetic data were detected and the trend in body size may be an adaptive response to an environmental cline that is known to occur in this region. (C) 2003 The Linnean Society of London

Ecology and hydrology of a threatened groundwater-dependent ecosystem: the Jewel Cave karst system in Western Australia, PhD Thesis, 2005, Eberhard, S. M.

Groundwater is a significant component of the world’s water balance and accounts for >90 % of usable freshwater. Around the world groundwater is an important source of water for major cities, towns, industries, agriculture and forestry. Groundwater plays a role in the ecological processes and ‘health’ of many surface ecosystems, and is the critical habitat for subterranean aquatic animals (stygofauna). Over-abstraction or contamination of groundwater resources may imperil the survival of stygofauna and other groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs). In two karst areas in Western Australia (Yanchep and Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge), rich stygofauna communities occur in cave waters containing submerged tree roots. These aquatic root mat communities were listed as critically endangered because of declining groundwater levels, presumably caused by lower rainfall, groundwater abstraction, and/or forest plantations. Investigation of the hydrology and ecology of the cave systems was considered essential for the conservation and recovery of these threatened ecological communities (TECs). This thesis investigated the hydrology and ecology of one of the TECs, located in the Jewel Cave karst system in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge. A multi-disciplinary approach was used to explore aspects pertinent to the hydrology and ecology of the groundwater system.
Thermoluminescence dating of the limestone suggested that development of the karst system dates from the Early Pleistocene and that caves have been available for colonisation by groundwater fauna since that time. Speleogenesis of the watertable maze caves occurred in a flank margin setting during earlier periods of wetter climate and/or elevated base levels. Field mapping and leveling were used to determine hydrologic relationships between caves and the boundaries of the karst aquifer. Monitoring of groundwater levels was undertaken to characterise the conditions of recharge, storage, flow and discharge. A hydrogeologic model of the karst system was developed.
The groundwater hydrograph for the last 50 years was reconstructed from old photographs and records whilst radiometric dating and leveling of stratigraphic horizons enabled reconstruction of a history of watertable fluctuations spanning the Holocene to Late Pleistocene. The watertable fluctuations over the previous 50 years did not exceed the range of fluctuations experienced in the Quaternary history, including a period 11,000 to 13,000 years ago when the watertable was lower than the present level.
The recent groundwater decline in Jewel Cave was not reflected in the annual rainfall trend, which was above average during the period (1976 to 1988) when the major drop in water levels occurred. Groundwater abstraction and tree plantations in nearby catchments have not contributed to the groundwater decline as previously suggested. The period of major watertable decline coincided with a substantial reduction in fire frequency within the karst catchment. The resultant increase in understorey vegetation and ground litter may have contributed to a reduction in groundwater recharge, through increased evapotranspiration and interception of rainfall. To better understand the relationships between rainfall, vegetation and fire and their effects on groundwater recharge, an experiment is proposed that involves a prescribed burn of the cave catchment with before-after monitoring of rainfall, leaf-area, ground litter, soil moisture, vadose infiltration and groundwater levels.
Molecular genetic techniques (allozyme electrophoresis and mitochondrial DNA) were used to assess the species and population boundaries of two genera and species of cave dwelling Amphipoda. Populations of both species were largely panmictic which was consistent with the hydrogeologic model. The molecular data supported the conclusion that both species of amphipod have survived lower watertable levels experienced in the caves during the Late Pleistocene. A mechanism for the colonization and isolation of populations in caves is proposed.
Multi Dimensional Scaling was used to investigate patterns in groundwater biodiversity including species diversity, species assemblages, habitat associations and biogeography. Faunal patterns were related to abiotic environmental parameters. Investigation of hydrochemistry and water quality characterized the ecological water requirements (EWR) of the TEC and established a baseline against which to evaluate potential impacts such as groundwater pollution.
The conservation status of the listed TEC was significantly improved by increasing the number of known occurrences and distribution range of the community (from 10 m2 to > 2 x 106 m2), and by showing that earlier perceived threatening processes (rainfall decline, groundwater pumping, tree plantations) were either ameliorated or inoperative within this catchment. The GDE in the Jewel Cave karst system may not have been endangered by the major phase of watertable decline experienced 1975-1987, or by the relatively stable level experienced up until 2000. However, if the present trend of declining rainfall in southwest Western Australia continues, and the cave watertable declines > 0.5 m below the present level, then the GDE may become more vulnerable to extinction.
The occurrence and distribution of aquatic root mat communities and related groundwater fauna in other karst catchments in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge is substantially greater than previously thought, however some of these are predicted to be threatened by groundwater pumping and pollution associated with increasing urban and rural developments. The taxonomy of most stygofauna taxa and the distribution of root mat communities is too poorly known to enable proper assessment of their conservation requirements. A regional-scale survey of stygofauna in southwest Western Australia is required to address this problem. In the interim, conservation actions for the listed TECs need to be focused at the most appropriate spatial scale, which is the karst drainage system and catchment area. Conservation of GDEs in Western Australia will benefit from understanding and integration with abiotic groundwater system processes, especially hydrogeologic and geomorphic processes.


Ecology and hydrology of a threatened groundwater-dependent ecosystem: the Jewel Cave karst system in Western Australia [abstract], 2006, Eberhard S. M.
This thesis investigates the hydrology and ecology of a threatened aquatic root mat community in the Jewel Cave karst system in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, Western Australia. Development of the karst system dates from the Early Pleistocene and the caves have been available for colonisation by groundwater fauna since that time. Speleogenesis of the watertable maze caves occurred in a flank margin setting during earlier periods of wetter climate and/or elevated base levels. Watertable fluctuations over the last 50 years did not exceed the range experienced in the Quaternary history. The recent groundwater decline in Jewel Cave was not related to rainfall, nor groundwater abstraction nor nearby tree plantations. However, it did coincide with a reduction in fire frequency within the karst catchment. The resultant increase in understorey vegetation and ground litter may have reduced groundwater recharge through increased evapotranspiration and interception of rainfall. The populations of two genera and species of cave dwelling Amphipoda are largely panmictic. Both species have survived lower watertable levels during the Late Pleistocene. A mechanism for the colonization and isolation of populations in caves is proposed. Faunal patterns (including species diversity, species assemblages, habitat associations and biogeography) were related to abiotic environmental parameters. The ecological water requirements of the community were determined as a baseline for evaluation of impacts such as groundwater pollution. If rainfall continues to decline, and the cave watertable declines > 0.5 m below the present level, then the groundwater ecosystem may become more vulnerable to extinction. The taxonomy and distribution of root mat communities is poorly known and a regional-scale survey is required to properly assess their conservation requirements. Meanwhile, conservation actions for the communities need to be focused at the scale of the karst drainage system and catchment area.

Extended Abstract: Ecology and hydrology of a threatened groundwater-dependent ecosystem: the Jewel Cave karst system in Western Australia, 2006, Eberhard, Stefan M.

This thesis investigates the hydrology and ecology of a threatened aquatic root mat community in the Jewel Cave karst system in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, Western Australia. Development of the karst system dates from the Early Pleistocene and the caves have been available for colonisation by groundwater fauna since that time. Speleogenesis of the watertable maze caves occurred in a flank margin setting during earlier periods of wetter climate and/or elevated base levels. Watertable fluctuations over the last 50 years did not exceed the range experienced in the Quaternary history. The recent groundwater decline in Jewel Cave was not related to rainfall, nor groundwater abstraction nor nearby tree plantations. However, it did coincide with a reduction in fire frequency within the karst catchment. The resultant increase in understorey vegetation and ground litter may have reduced groundwater recharge through increased evapotranspiration and interception of rainfall. The populations of two genera and species of cave dwelling Amphipoda are largely panmictic. Both species have survived lower watertable levels during the Late Pleistocene. A mechanism for the colonization and isolation of populations in caves is proposed. Faunal patterns (including species diversity, species assemblages, habitat associations and biogeography) were related to abiotic environmental parameters. The ecological water requirements of the community were determined as a baseline for evaluation of impacts such as groundwater pollution. If rainfall continues to decline, and the cave watertable declines > 0.5 m below the present level, then the groundwater ecosystem may become more vulnerable to extinction. The taxonomy and distribution of root mat communities is poorly known and a regional-scale survey is required to properly assess their conservation requirements. Meanwhile, conservation actions for the communities need to be focused at the scale of the karst drainage system and catchment area.


Subterranean biogeography: what have we learned from molecular techniques?, 2007, Porter Megan L.
Subterranean faunas have unique distributional attributes, including relatively small ranges and high levels of endemism. Two general models have been proposed to account for these distributional patternsvicariance, the isolation of populations due to geographic barriers, and dispersal, an organisms ability to move to and colonize new habitats. The debate over the relative importance of each of these models in subterranean systems is ongoing. More recently, biogeographical studies of subterranean fauna using molecular methods have provided new perspectives into the distributional patterns of hypogean fauna, reinvigorating the vicariance versus dispersal debate. This review focuses on the application of molecular techniques to the study of subterranean biogeography, and particularly the contribution of molecular methods in estimating dispersal ability and divergence times. So far, molecular studies of subterranean biogeography have found evidence for the common occurrence of multiple independent colonizations of the subterranean habitat in cave-adapted species, have emphasized the importance of the genetic structure of the ancestral surface populations in determining the genetic structure of subsequent hypogean forms, and have stressed the importance of vicariance or a mixed model including both vicariant and dispersal events.

Benchmark Papers in Karst Science, 2007,
A collection of benchmark papers in karst science: The Decade 1971 ? 1980 13. The Geochemistry of Some Carbonate Ground Waters in Central Pennsylvania, D. Langmuir 14. Genetic Interpretation of Regressive Evolutionary Processes: Studies on Hybrid Eyes of Two Astyanax Cave Populations (Characidae, Pisces), H. Wilkins 15. Cavernicoles in Lava Tubes on the Island of Hawaii, F.G. Howarth 16. Evolutionary Genetics of Cave-Dwelling Fishes of the Genus Astyanax, J.C. Avise and R.L. Selander 17. Deducing Flow Velocity in Cave Conduits from Scallops, R.L. Curl 18. The Origin of Maze Caves, A.N. Palmer 19. Foraging by Cave Beetles: Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity of Prey, T.C. Kane and T.L. Poulson 20. Considerations of the Karst Ecosystem, R. Rouch 21. Diffuse Flow and Conduit Flow in Limestone Terrain in the Mendip Hills, Somerset (Great Britain), T.C. Atkinson 22. The Development of Limestone Cave Systems in Dimensions of Length and Depth, D.C. Ford and R.O. Ewers The Decade 1981 ? 1990 23. Magnetostratigraphy of Sediments in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, V.A. Schmidt 24. Uranium-Series Ages of Speleothem from Northwest England: Correlations with Quaternary Climate, M. Gascoyne, D.C. Ford and H.P. Schwarcz 25. Analysis and Interpretation of Data from Tracer Tests in Karst Areas, W.K. Jones 26. Evolution of Adult Morphology and Life-History Characters in Cavernicolous Ptomaphagus Beetles, S.B. Peck 27. Ecology of the Mixohaline Hypogean Fauna along the Yugoslav Coasts, B. Sket 28. Fractal Dimensions and Geometries of Caves, R.L. Curl 29. Regional Scale Transport in a Karst Aquifer. 1. Component Separation of Spring Flow Hydrographs, S.J. Dreiss 30. Morphological Evolution of the Amphipod Gammarus minus in Caves: Quantitative Genetic Analysis, D.W. Fong 31. The Flank Margin Model for Dissolution Cave Development in Carbonate Platforms, J.E. Mylroie and J.L. Carew 32. Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis of Carlsbad Cavern and Its Relationship to Hydrocarbons, Delaware Basin, New Mexico and Texas, C.A. Hill The Decade 1991 ? 2000 33. Origin and Morphology of Limestone Caves, A.N. Palmer 34. How Many Species of Troglobites Are There? D.C. Culver and J.R. Holsinger 35. Annual Growth Banding in a Cave Stalagmite, A. Baker, P.L. Smart, R.L. Edwards and D.A. Richards 36. Natural Environment Change in Karst: The Quaternary Record, S.-E. Lauritzen 37. Pattern and Process in the Biogeography of Subterranean Amphipods, J.R. Holsinger 38. A Chemoautotrophically Based Cave Ecosystem, S.M. Sarbu, T.C. Kane and B.K. Kinkle 39. Rhodopsin Evolution in the Dark, K.A. Crandall and D.M. Hillis 40. Climate and Vegetation History of the Midcontinent from 75 to 25 ka: A Speleothem Record from Crevice Cave, Missouri, USA, J.A. Dorale, R.L. Edwards, E. Ito and L.A. González

Historical biogeography of subterranean beetles Platos cave or scientific evidence?, 2007, Moldovan O. T. , Rajka G.

The last two decades were particularly prolific in historical biogeography because of new information introduced from other sciences, such as paleogeography, by the development of quantitative methods and by molecular phylogeny. Subterranean beetles represent an excellent object of study for historical biogeography because they are the group with the best representation in the subterranean domain. In addition, species have reduced mobility, display different degrees of adaptations to life in caves and many specialists work on this group. Three processes have shaped the present distribution of the tribe Leptodirini (Coleoptera Cholevinae) in the world: dispersal, vicariance, and extinction. Therefore, three successive stages can be established in the space-time evolution of Leptodirini: (1) dispersal from a center of origin in the present area(s); (2) dispersal, extinction and vicariance among the present area(s); and (3) colonization and speciation in the subterranean domain. The Romanian Leptodirini, especially those from Western Carpathians is examined with respect to these processes. Their pattern of distribution in different massifs and at different altitudes is discussed, with possible explanations from a historical biogeographic point of view.


What Does the Distribution of Stygobiotic Copepoda (Crustacea) Tell Us About Their Age?, 2007, Culver D. C. , Pipan T.

Geographic distribution of stygobionts is often used to estimate age of a group by assuming vicariant speciation with little or no subsequent dispersal. We investigated the utility of using distributional data for Slovenian stygobiotic copepods by assuming that dispersal is a way to measure age of a species. We list some species of Copepoda that, on the basis of their range and frequency of occupancy within their range, should be older. Body size is not predictor either of range or frequency of occupancy.


The challenge of estimating the age of subterranean lineages: examples from Brazil, 2007, Trajano, E.

The applicability and effectiveness of different kinds of evidence used to estimate the age of lineages – morphological, molecu­lar, phylogenetic, biogeographical, geological – are discussed. Examples from the Brazilian subterranean fauna are presented, using mainly fishes, one of the best studied groups, as a model. Only three taxa including troglobites are object of molecular studies, all in progress. Therefore, molecular clocks cannot be applied yet, and indirect evidence is used. Few phylogenies are available, e.g. for the catfish families Heptapteridae and Tricho­mycteridae. Theoretically, basal troglobitic clades are older than apical ones, but the possible existence of extinct epigean taxa belonging to such clades hampers the comparison. As well, the limitations of the use degrees of troglomorphism to estimate phylogenetic ages are analyzed with focus on the complexity of the mechanisms underlying morphological differentiation. Paleoclimatic reconstructions based on dating of speleothems from caves in northeastern and southeastern Brazil are avail­able, but limited up to the last 200,000 years, thus useful for relatively recent lineages. Topographic isolation, probable for some fish groups from Central Brazil, is also within the time range of 105 years. Older dated events (in the order of 106 years or more) that may represent vicariant events affecting aquatic lineages with subterranean derivatives are related to the estab­lishment of the modern South American main river basins. In view of the paucity of data useful for estimating the age of Bra­zilian troglobitic lineages, combined evidence, including mor­phology, systematics and biogeography, seems to be the best approach at the moment.


PATTERNS AND PROCESSES OF GROUNDWATER INVASION BY COPEPODS IN THE INTERIOR PLATEAUS OF THE UNITED STATES, 2007, Lewis J. J. , Reid J. W.

The copepod crustacean fauna collected from subterranean habitats, including caves, wells, and the hyporheos of streams in and near the Interior Low Plateaus of the United States is dominated by Cyclopoida, with 39 species, followed by Harpac­ticoida with 9, and Calanoida with 2. Nearly all of the harpac­ticoid and calanoid species are widespread, primarily surface-dwelling generalists. Fourteen of the cyclopoids, members of the genera Diacyclops, Itocyclops, Megacyclops, and Rheocyclops, are apparently obligate stygobionts or hyporheic. Several of the species that are more strongly modified for subterranean exis­tence occur only in the more southern, unglaciated areas. Our sampling data support the hypothesis that the more specialized, groundwater-interstitial species have been unable to disperse into previously glaciated regions; whereas some, less-special­ized species may have invaded groundwaters from surface habi­tats as the glaciers receded.


CARVING UP THE PRE-ILLINOIAN CENTRAL HIGHLANDS: TRANSVERSE SPELEOGENESIS AND EMERGENT BEDROCK MEANDERS IN THE OZARKS, 2007, Elfrink, N.

New data fail to support the prevailing theory that meandering bedrock valleys inherit their sinuosity from ancient alluvial rivers. In the Ozarks, observations indicate that bedrock meanders emerge during incision as a result of erosion by emergent groundwater and surface flow. Crustal tilting pressurizes deep aquifers that feed a huge base flow to large springs. Because of their large size and persistence in time, these artesian conduits have the potential to create new base levels of erosion. Transverse speleogenesis causes groundwater flow lines and surface streams to converge toward the springs, thereby further increasing the rate of landscape lowering and creating bedrock meanders. Groundwater outflow accelerates stream piracy, creates asymmetric drainage patterns and cuts channels across structural upwarps. By contrast, the antecedent meander theory favors long-term drainage stability that cannot explain the incredible diversity of the freshwater fauna found in the Central Highlands. Widely disjunct species of highland fish that thrive only in clear, high-gradient streams indicate that the Ouachitas, the Ozarks and the Eastern Highlands were once a continuous upland connected by a “land bridge” in southern Illinois. This connection allowed ancestral species to become widespread enough to be affected by a vicariant event, usually attributed to onset of glaciation. However, a 400-km eastward shift in Gulf of Mexico sedimentation indicates this vicariant event may have occurred in the middle Pleistocene, when it is proposed that the Mississippi River dissected the Central Highlands, separating the Interior Highlands from the Eastern Highlands.


Aquatic subterranean Crustacea in Ireland: results and new records from a pilot study, 2008, Arnscheidt, Jrg, Hans Jrgen Hahn And Andreas Fuchs.
A total of 106 sites were sampled for subterranean aquatic Crustacea, basic water chemistry parameters and sediment characteristics as part of a pilot study for an all-Ireland survey of hypogean biodiversity. Samples were collected between November 2005 and August 2006. Sites were selected with a view to cover most of Ireland's geographical regions, geological formations and aquifer types. Sampling sites comprised 55 monitoring boreholes, 43 wells (excavated / dug from the surface historically), 5 springs and 3 wells with current groundwater abstraction for drinking water. Aquatic Crustacea were retrieved from 57% of all sites and included the first records of the following taxa for Ireland: Cavernocypris subterraneana, Fabaeformiscandona breuili and Fabaeformiscandona wegelini (Ostracoda), Speocyclops cf demetiensis (Cyclopoida) and Microniphargus leruthi (Amphipoda). These records suggest that the biodiversity of Ireland's freshwater fauna might have been significantly underestimated due to a historical lack of biological research on subterranean ecosystems. The results raise important questions regarding the biogeography of Ireland and the potential survival of subterranean fauna during periods of glaciation within hypogean refugia.

Results and perspectives of paleontological studies in Crimean caves, 2008, Ridush B. T. , Vremir M.

Till recently information about bone accumulations in caves of the Crimean Mountains was comparatively modest. Now several dozens of caves are known on high plateaus, which hold a rich potential regarding Late Pleistocene and Holocene fauna of the Crimean Mountains. The Chatyrdag Plateau is the best studied area with its nine bone-bearing caves documented and two caves (Marble Cave and Emine-Bair-Khosar Cave) where detailed investigations have been conducted. Paleontological potential of the Emine-Bair-Khosar Cave is tremendous. Fauna complexes belonging to the LGM (the complex of cold steps, also confirmed by paleopalinological data) and interstadials and the postglacial (predominantly related to meadows and forested landscapes of warmer climate) are identified in this cave. Enormous amount of bones, their well preserved condition, tafocenosis and species diversity give a special importance to this cave. The ongoing study of the Emine-Bair-Khosar Cave site will contribute to resolution of many issues about paleobiogeography, paleoecology and paleoclimate of this region. In other caves of Crimea important information has been also obtained.


Biodiversity and conservation of subterranean fauna fromPortuguese karst. Ph.D. Thesis, 2012, Ana Sofia Reboleira

This research is a contribution to the study of subterranean biodiversity in karst areas of Portugal, towards its conservation.

The relative inaccessibility of the subterranean environment is a challenge for the study of its fauna, often accessible only in caves but more widely distributed. The subterranean animals are among the most rare, threatened and worldwide underprotected, often by the simple fact of being unknown.

Karst areas of Portugal occupy a considerable part of the territory and harbor more than 2000 caves. The complex biogeographical history of the Iberian Peninsula allowed the survival of several relict arthropod refugees in the subterranean environment.

Subterranean invertebrates have been ignored, as for as the protection of karst systems are concerned in Portugal, largely because knowledge was scarce and disorganized. Reviewing all the bibliographic sources about subterranean fauna from Portugal and listing troglobiont and stygobiont species and locations, was essential to understand the state of knowledge of species richness and the biogeography and conservation status for the studied areas.

In order to understand subterranean biodiversity patterns in karst areas from Portugal, one year of intense fieldwork was performed in more than 40 caves from 14 karst units. Several new species for science were discovered and 7 taxa comprising 2 new genera and 5 new species were described.

Bearing in mind that spatial distribution of subterranean species is crucial to ecological research and conservation, the distribution of hypogean species, from Portuguese karst areas, was mapped using geographic information systems. Also, its subterranean richness was compared with other areas of the world and missing species were estimated on a regional scale. The subterranean biodiversity patterns were analyzed, and several factors were tested to explain richness patterns. Evapotranspiration and the consequent high productivity on the surface may be determinant in the species richness in the different karst units of Portugal, but the depth of the caves and the unique geological features of every massif seemed to play a more important role.

In order to evaluate the tolerance of organisms to groundwater contamination, the acute toxicity of two substances were tested on stygobiont crustaceans with different degrees of troglomorphism. Our study showed that the high levels of endemism contribute to remarkably different toxicological responses within the same genus.

The major problems related to conservation of subterranean habitats were associated to direct destruction and their contamination. These ecosystems lack of specific protection, implying an adequate management of surface habitats and the establishment of priority areas. Integrating all the previous information, this study establishes a ranking of sites for conservation of subterranean fauna in karst areas of Portugal.This research is a contribution to the study of subterranean biodiversity in karst areas of Portugal, towards its conservation.

The relative inaccessibility of the subterranean environment is a challenge for the study of its fauna, often accessible only in caves but more widely distributed. The subterranean animals are among the most rare, threatened and worldwide underprotected, often by the simple fact of being unknown.

Karst areas of Portugal occupy a considerable part of the territory and harbor more than 2000 caves. The complex biogeographical history of the Iberian Peninsula allowed the survival of several relict arthropod refugees in the subterranean environment.

Subterranean invertebrates have been ignored, as for as the protection of karst systems are concerned in Portugal, largely because knowledge was scarce and disorganized. Reviewing all the bibliographic sources about subterranean fauna from Portugal and listing troglobiont and stygobiont species and locations, was essential to understand the state of knowledge of species richness and the biogeography and conservation status for the studied areas.

In order to understand subterranean biodiversity patterns in karst areas from Portugal, one year of intense fieldwork was performed in more than 40 caves from 14 karst units. Several new species for science were discovered and 7 taxa comprising 2 new genera and 5 new species were described.

Bearing in mind that spatial distribution of subterranean species is crucial to ecological research and conservation, the distribution of hypogean species, from Portuguese karst areas, was mapped using geographic information systems. Also, its subterranean richness was compared with other areas of the world and missing species were estimated on a regional scale. The subterranean biodiversity patterns were analyzed, and several factors were tested to explain richness patterns. Evapotranspiration and the consequent high productivity on the surface may be determinant in the species richness in the different karst units of Portugal, but the depth of the caves and the unique geological features of every massif seemed to play a more important role.

In order to evaluate the tolerance of organisms to groundwater contamination, the acute toxicity of two substances were tested on stygobiont crustaceans with different degrees of troglomorphism. Our study showed that the high levels of endemism contribute to remarkably different toxicological responses within the same genus.

The major problems related to conservation of subterranean habitats were associated to direct destruction and their contamination. These ecosystems lack of specific protection, implying an adequate management of surface habitats and the establishment of priority areas. Integrating all the previous information, this study establishes a ranking of sites for conservation of subterranean fauna in karst areas of Portugal.


Biodiversity and conservation of subterranean fauna of Portuguese karst. Ph.D. thesis, 2012, Ana Sofia P. S. Reboleira

This research is a contribution to the study of subterranean biodiversity in karst areas of Portugal, towards its conservation.

The relative inaccessibility of the subterranean environment is a challenge for the study of its fauna, often accessible only in caves but more widely distributed. The subterranean animals are among the most rare, threatened and worldwide underprotected, often by the simple fact of being unknown.

Karst areas of Portugal occupy a considerable part of the territory and harbor more than 2000 caves. The complex biogeographical history of the Iberian Peninsula allowed the survival of several relict arthropod refugees in the subterranean environment.

Subterranean invertebrates have been ignored, as for as the protection of karst systems are concerned in Portugal, largely because knowledge was scarce and disorganized. Reviewing all the bibliographic sources about subterranean fauna from Portugal and listing troglobiont and stygobiont species and locations, was essential to understand the state of knowledge of species richness and the biogeography and conservation status for the studied areas.

In order to understand subterranean biodiversity patterns in karst areas from Portugal, one year of intense fieldwork was performed in more than 40 caves from 14 karst units. Several new species for science were discovered and 7 taxa comprising 2 new genera and 5 new species were described.

Bearing in mind that spatial distribution of subterranean species is crucial to ecological research and conservation, the distribution of hypogean species, from Portuguese karst areas, was mapped using geographic information systems. Also, its subterranean richness was compared with other areas of the world and missing species were estimated on a regional scale. The subterranean biodiversity patterns were analyzed, and several factors were tested to explain richness patterns. Evapotranspiration and the consequent high productivity on the surface may be determinant in the species richness in the different karst units of Portugal, but the depth of the caves and the unique geological features of every massif seemed to play a more important role.

In order to evaluate the tolerance of organisms to groundwater contamination, the acute toxicity of two substances were tested on stygobiont crustaceans with different degrees of troglomorphism. Our study showed that the high levels of endemism contribute to remarkably different toxicological responses within the same genus.

The major problems related to conservation of subterranean habitats were associated to direct destruction and their contamination. These ecosystems lack of specific protection, implying an adequate management of surface habitats and the establishment of priority areas. Integrating all the previous information, this study establishes a ranking of sites for conservation of subterranean fauna in karst areas of Portugal.This research is a contribution to the study of subterranean biodiversity in karst areas of Portugal, towards its conservation.

The relative inaccessibility of the subterranean environment is a challenge for the study of its fauna, often accessible only in caves but more widely distributed. The subterranean animals are among the most rare, threatened and worldwide underprotected, often by the simple fact of being unknown.

Karst areas of Portugal occupy a considerable part of the territory and harbor more than 2000 caves. The complex biogeographical history of the Iberian Peninsula allowed the survival of several relict arthropod refugees in the subterranean environment.

Subterranean invertebrates have been ignored, as for as the protection of karst systems are concerned in Portugal, largely because knowledge was scarce and disorganized. Reviewing all the bibliographic sources about subterranean fauna from Portugal and listing troglobiont and stygobiont species and locations, was essential to understand the state of knowledge of species richness and the biogeography and conservation status for the studied areas.

In order to understand subterranean biodiversity patterns in karst areas from Portugal, one year of intense fieldwork was performed in more than 40 caves from 14 karst units. Several new species for science were discovered and 7 taxa comprising 2 new genera and 5 new species were described.

Bearing in mind that spatial distribution of subterranean species is crucial to ecological research and conservation, the distribution of hypogean species, from Portuguese karst areas, was mapped using geographic information systems. Also, its subterranean richness was compared with other areas of the world and missing species were estimated on a regional scale. The subterranean biodiversity patterns were analyzed, and several factors were tested to explain richness patterns. Evapotranspiration and the consequent high productivity on the surface may be determinant in the species richness in the different karst units of Portugal, but the depth of the caves and the unique geological features of every massif seemed to play a more important role.

In order to evaluate the tolerance of organisms to groundwater contamination, the acute toxicity of two substances were tested on stygobiont crustaceans with different degrees of troglomorphism. Our study showed that the high levels of endemism contribute to remarkably different toxicological responses within the same genus.

The major problems related to conservation of subterranean habitats were associated to direct destruction and their contamination. These ecosystems lack of specific protection, implying an adequate management of surface habitats and the establishment of priority areas. Integrating all the previous information, this study establishes a ranking of sites for conservation of subterranean fauna in karst areas of Portugal.


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