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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 discharge area is an area in which ground water is discharged to the land surface, surface water, or atmosphere [22].?

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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;
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Your search for productivity (Keyword) returned 23 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 23 of 23
Geomicrobiology of biovermiculations from the Frasassi Cave System, Italy, 2008, D. S. Jones, E. H. Lyon, And J. L. Macalady

Sulfidic cave walls host abundant, rapidly-growing microbial communities that display a variety of morphologies previously described for vermiculations. Here we present molecular, microscopic, isotopic, and geochemical data describing the geomicrobiology of these biovermiculations from the Frasassi cave system, Italy. The biovermiculations are composed of densely packed prokaryotic and fungal cells in a mineral-organic matrix containing 5 to 25% organic carbon. The carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of the biovermiculations (d13C 5 235 to 243%, and d15N 5 4 to 227%, respectively) indicate that within sulfidic zones, the organic matter originates from chemolithotrophic bacterial primary productivity. Based on 16S rRNA gene cloning (n567), the biovermiculation community is extremely diverse, including 48 representative phylotypes (.98% identity) from at least 15 major bacterial lineages. Important lineages include the Betaproteobacteria (19.5% of clones), Gammaproteobacteria (18%), Acidobacteria (10.5%), Nitrospirae (7.5%), and Planctomyces (7.5%). The most abundant phylotype, comprising over 10% of the 16S rRNA gene sequences, groups in an unnamed clade within the Gammaproteobacteria. Based on phylogenetic analysis, we have identified potential sulfur- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, as well as both auto- and heterotrophic members of the biovermiculation community. Additionally, many of the clones are representatives of deeply branching bacterial lineages with no cultivated representatives. The geochemistry and microbial composition of the biovermiculations suggest that they play a role in acid production and carbonate dissolution, thereby contributing to cave formation.


Limitations of hendy test criteria in judging the paleoclimatic suitability of speleothems and the need for replication, 2009, Dorale J. A. And Liu Z.
Carbon and oxygen isotopes in calcite speleothems are powerful proxies for understanding past climate change. For calcite deposited under isotopic equilibrium conditions, variations in d18 O values directly reflect changes in cave temperature and the isotopic composition of meteoric water. Speleothem d13 C values have bedrock, atmospheric, and soil gas sources. Soil gases can be traced to the overlying vegetation, which is related to climate. Both d13 C and d18 O values are therefore potentially powerful tracers of climate change. Processes that could alter speleothem d13 C and/or d18 O values, and thereby mask primary environmental signals, fall in the categories of 1) kinetic processes, including deposition of calcite out of isotopic equilibrium, and 2) vadose processes, including evaporation of water at or near the land surface. In truth, there is no absolute test for the absence of these kinetic/vadose-zone processes. However, the Hendy Test is widely used for assessing whether isotopic equilibrium existed during the time of calcite deposition. Criterion (1) of the Hendy Test (i.e., that d18 O values remain constant along a single growth layer) may not be a valid control of equilibrium conditions because isotopic equilibrium could theoretically occur in the center of the speleothem at the same time that kinetic fractionation occurs at the flanks. Moreover, the concept of sampling along a single growth layer is flawed in both theory and practice. Criterion (2) of the Hendy Test (i.e., that there is no relationship between d13 C and d18 O) is based on the assumption that speleothem d13 C values are not linked to climate. However, speleothem d13 C values may well be linked to climate because climate provides a first-order control on soil productivity and the type of vegetation. Therefore, Hendy Test criterion (2) is not a prerequisite to isotopic equilibrium in all cases. We propose instead the Replication Test (i.e., the demonstration of similar isotopic profiles among two or more speleothems) for evaluating the likelihood of calcite deposition under isotopic equilibrium conditions. Replication of isotopic profiles among two or more speleothems is possible only if kinetic/vadose-zone processes are either: 1) absent or 2) have affected spatially separated speleothems in exactly the same way. Because the second scenario is highly unlikely, we propose that the Replication Test is effectively sufficient in ruling out kinetic/vadose- zone overprinting processes. We further suggest that the Replication Test is far more robust in testing for the absence of the wide range of processes described above than is the traditional Hendy Test.

Productivity-Diversity Relationships from Chemolithoautotrophically Based Sulfidic Karst Systems, 2009, Porter M. L. , Summers Engel A. , Kane T. C. And Kinkle B. K.
Although ecosystems thriving in the absence of photosynthetic processes are no longer considered unique phenomena, we have yet to understand how these ecosystems are energetically sustained via chemosynthesis. Ecosystem energetics were measured in microbial mats from active sulfidic caves (Movile Cave, Romania; Frasassi Caves, Italy; Lower Kane Cave, Wyoming, USA; and Cesspool Cave, Virginia, USA) using radiotracer techniques. We also estimated bacterial diversity using 16S rRNA sequences to relate the productivity measurements to the composition of the microbial communities. All of the microbial communities investigated were dominated by chemolithoautotrophic productivity, with the highest rates from Movile Cave at 281 g C/m2/yr. Heterotrophic productivities were at least one order of magnitude less than autotrophy from all of the caves. We generated 414 new 16S rRNA gene sequences that represented 173 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with 99% sequence similarity. Although 13% of these OTUs were found in more than one cave, the compositions of each community were significantly different from each other (P?0.001). Autotrophic productivity was positively correlated with overall species richness and with the number of bacterial OTUs affiliated with the Epsilonproteobacteria, a group known for sulfur cycling and chemolithoautotrophy. Higher rates of autotrophy were also strongly positively correlated to available metabolic energy sources, and specifically to dissolved sulfide concentrations. The relationship of autotrophic productivity and heterotrophic cycling rates to bacterial species richness can significantly impact the diversity of higher trophic levels in chemolithoautotrophically-based cave ecosystems, with the systems possessing the highest productivity supporting abundant and diverse macro-invertebrate communities.

Productivity-Diversity Relationships from Chemolithoautotrophically Based Sulfidic Karst Systems, 2009, Porter M. L. , Summers Engel A. , Kane T. C. , Kinkle B. K.

Although ecosystems thriving in the absence of photosynthetic processes are no longer considered unique phenomena, we have yet to understand how these ecosystems are energetically sustained via chemosynthesis. Ecosystem energetics were measured in microbial mats from active sulfidic caves (Movile Cave, Romania; Frasassi Caves, Italy; Lower Kane Cave, Wyoming, USA; and Cesspool Cave, Virginia, USA) using radiotracer techniques. We also estimated bacterial diversity using 16S rRNA sequences to relate the productivity measurements to the composition of the microbial communities. All of the microbial communities investigated were dominated by chemolithoautotrophic productivity, with the highest rates from Movile Cave at 281 g C/m2/yr. Heterotrophic productivities were at least one order of magnitude less than autotrophy from all of the caves. We generated 414 new 16S rRNA gene sequences that represented 173 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with 99% sequence similarity. Although 13% of these OTUs were found in more than one cave, the compositions of each community were significantly different from each other (P≤0.001). Autotrophic productivity was positively correlated with overall species richness and with the number of bacterial OTUs affiliated with the Epsilonproteobacteria, a group known for sulfur cycling and chemolithoautotrophy. Higher rates of autotrophy were also strongly positively correlated to available metabolic energy sources, and specifically to dissolved sulfide concentrations. The relationship of autotrophic productivity and heterotrophic cycling rates to bacterial species richness can significantly impact the diversity of higher trophic levels in chemolithoautotrophically-based cave ecosystems, with the systems possessing the highest productivity supporting abundant and diverse macro-invertebrate communities.


Distribution of authigenic and allogenic fractions in recent lake sediment: Isotopic and chemical compositions, 2011, Bareić, Jadranka, Horvatinč, Ić, Nada, Vreč, A Polona, Sironić, Andreja

Recent sediments in Lake Kozjak, in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia, were used to study the impact of the material delivered
to the lake sediment via Rječica Brook. Sediment cores, top 40 cm, were taken near the mouth of the Rječica Brook at three locations in the lake at different distances from the shore, water depth 2-9 m and analyzed using different isotopic and chemical methods. Sediment depth profiles of the following parameters were obtained: organic and carbonate fraction, C/N analyses of organic fraction, 14C activity (a14C) and d13C values of carbonate (d13Ccarb) and organic fraction (d13Corg) and d15N of total nitrogen. The results were compared with sediment
core collected in the middle of Lake Kozjak, water depth 21 m. Distribution of organic matter, C/N values, d13Corg and d13Ccarb in sediment profiles showed strong influence of terrestrial
organic and carbonate fraction run-off via Rječica Brook which decreased rapidly in the direction of the open lake. The sedimentation rate as well as the ratio of allogenic and authigenic
fraction in sediments was estimated. Lower d13Corg values in surface sediments might be a consequence of the increase in algal productivity but might also be a contribution of fossil fuel combustion. The anthropogenicaly induced 14C in the atmosphere
in 1963/64 is visible though shadowed in sediments.


From sink to resurgence: the buffering capacity of a cave system in the Tongass national forest, USA , 2011, Hendrickson Melissa R. , Groves Chris

The Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska, USA, pro­vides a unique environment for monitoring the impact of the cave system on water quality and biological productivity. The accretionary terrane setting of the area has developed into a complex and heterogeneous geologic landscape which includes numerous blocks of limestone with intense karstification. Dur­ing the Wisconsian glaciation, there were areas of compacted glacial sediments and silts deposited over the bedrock. Muskeg peatlands developed over these poorly drained areas. The dom­inant plants of the muskeg ecosystem are Sphagnum mosses, whose decomposition leads to highly acidic waters with pH as low as 2.4. These waters drain off the muskegs into the cave sys­tems, eventually running to the ocean. In accordance with the Tongass Land Management Plan, one of the research priorities of the National Forest is to determine the contributions of karst groundwater systems to productivity of aquatic communities. On Northern Prince of Wales Island, the Conk Canyon Cave insurgence and the Mop Spring resurgence were continuously monitored to understand the buffering capacity of the cave sys­tem. Over the length of the system, the pH increases from an average 3.89 to 7.22. The insurgence water temperature, during the summer months, ranged from between 10oC to 17oC. Af­ter residence in the cave system, the resurgence water had been buffered to 6oC to 9oC. Over the continuum from insurgence to resurgence, the specific conductance had increased by an order of magnitude with the resurgence waters having a higher ionic strength. The cave environment acts as a buffer on the incom­ing acidic muskeg water to yield resurgence water chemistry of a buffered karst system. These buffered waters contribute to the productivity in aquatic environments downstream. The waters from this system drain into Whale Pass, an important location for the salmon industry. The cool, even temperatures, as well as buffered flow rates delivered by the karst systems are associated with higher productivity of juvenile coho salmon.


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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