Many biospeleological studies focus on organisms that are exclusive inhabitants of the subterranean realm, but organisms that are not obligate cave-dwellers are frequent in caves, and may account for a substantial portion of biomass. Moreover, several taxa that are usually epigeous are regularly found inside caves, but for most of them it is unknown whether they accidentally enter them, or whether they actively select caves for specific environmental features. In this study we analysed the community of non-strict cave-dwelling organisms (amphibians, gastropods, spiders and orthopterans) in 33 caves from Central Italy, to assess how environmental factors determine community structure. Cave features strongly affected the distribution of the taxa considered. The combined effect of cave morphology and microclimate explained nearly 50% of the variation of community structure. Most of community variation occurred along a gradient from deep, dark and humid caves, to dry caves with wider entrances and extended photic areas. Most of species were associated with humid, deep and dark caves. Most of the non-troglobiont amphibians and invertebrates did not occur randomly in caves, but were associated to caves with specific environmental features. Analysing relationships between cave-dwelling species and environmental variables can allow a more ecological and objective classification of cave-dwelling organisms. (C) 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Do cave features affect underground habitat exploitation by non-troglobite species?

Enrico Lunghi
;
2014

Abstract

Many biospeleological studies focus on organisms that are exclusive inhabitants of the subterranean realm, but organisms that are not obligate cave-dwellers are frequent in caves, and may account for a substantial portion of biomass. Moreover, several taxa that are usually epigeous are regularly found inside caves, but for most of them it is unknown whether they accidentally enter them, or whether they actively select caves for specific environmental features. In this study we analysed the community of non-strict cave-dwelling organisms (amphibians, gastropods, spiders and orthopterans) in 33 caves from Central Italy, to assess how environmental factors determine community structure. Cave features strongly affected the distribution of the taxa considered. The combined effect of cave morphology and microclimate explained nearly 50% of the variation of community structure. Most of community variation occurred along a gradient from deep, dark and humid caves, to dry caves with wider entrances and extended photic areas. Most of species were associated with humid, deep and dark caves. Most of the non-troglobiont amphibians and invertebrates did not occur randomly in caves, but were associated to caves with specific environmental features. Analysing relationships between cave-dwelling species and environmental variables can allow a more ecological and objective classification of cave-dwelling organisms. (C) 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/193187
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 62
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 62
social impact