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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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Community news

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 flushed zone is in geophysical well logging, the zone around the well bore completely invaded by the mud filtrate [16].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms


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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 microscopy (Keyword) returned 40 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 40
Involvement of microorganisms in the formation of carbonate speleothems in the Cervo Cave (L'Aquila-Italy), 2004,
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Cacchio P, Contento R, Ercole C, Cappuccio G, Martinez Mp, Lepidi A,
Much is known about the bacterial precipitation of carbonate rocks, but comparatively little is known about the involvement of microbes in the formation of secondary mineral structures in caves. We hypothesized that bacteria isolated from calcareous stalactites, which are able to mediate CaCO3 precipitation in vitro, play a role in the formation of carbonate speleothems. We collected numerous cultivable calcifying bacteria from calcareous speleothems from Cervo cave, implying that their presence was not occasional. The relative abundance of calcifying bacteria among total cultivable microflora was found to be related to the calcifying activity in the stalactites. We also determined the delta(13)C and delta(18)O values of the Cervo cave speleothems from which bacteria were isolated and of the carbonates obtained in vitro to determine whether bacteria were indeed involved in the formation of secondary mineral structures. We identified three groups of biological carbonates produced in vitro at 11degreesC on the basis of their carbon isotopic composition: carbonates with delta(13)C values ( a) slightly more positive, (b) more negative, and (c) much more negative than those of the stalactite carbonates. The carbonates belonging to the first group, characterized by the most similar delta(13)C values to stalactites, were produced by the most abundant strains. Most of calcifying isolates belonged to the genus Kocuria. Scanning electron microscopy showed that dominant morphologies of the bioliths were sherulithic with fibrous radiated interiors. We suggest a mechanism of carbonate crystal formation by bacteria

A mineralogical and phytolith study of the middle stone age hearths in Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 2004,
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Schiegl S. , Stockhammer P. , Scott C. , Wadley L. ,
Sediments from Middle Stone Age hearths and burnt deposits in Sibudu Cave (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) were analysed for their mineral and phytolith contents. The mineral compositions were determined by FT-IR spectroscopy. The phytoliths were classified and counted by transmitted polarized light microscopy. Burning experiments using wood and grasses from species native to the cave's environment yielded the reference ashes. The visible hearths and ash dumps contain phytolith assemblages characteristic of wood fuel. A significant portion of the phytoliths of hearths and ash layers display morphologies related to intense heating. This finding is suggestive of long-burning wood fires and/or reuse of the same fireplace. The heat-altered phytoliths are useful in tracing fires, especially if hearth structures are not preserved and ash deposits have been diagenetically and heavily altered. The phytolith contents and mineralogical composition of the ash deposits and the surrounding sedimentary matrix are very similar. This feature suggests that the sedimentary matrix originally contained fireplaces and ash deposits, whose structures were destroyed shortly after deposition, presumably by trampling.(21) The intact circular hearths are most likely the product of intense fires. Similar results from hearths and their surrounding matrix have been reported from Middle Palaeolithic cave sites in Israel

The distribution and life history of Arrhopalites caecus (Tullberg): Order: Collembola, in Wind Cave, South Dakota, USA., 2005,
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Moore J. C. , Saunders P. , Selby G. , Horton H. , Chelius M. K. , Chapman A. , Horrocks R. D.
Individuals of the collembolan species Arrhopalites caecus (Tullberg) were collected from drip pools within Wind Cave, South Dakota, at Methodist Church adjacent to the Natural Entrance Tour Route and Room Draculum near survey marker NP-39. Specimens were identified as A. caecus using direct interference and scanning electron microscopy. Molecular analysis of the D2 region of 28S rDNA was performed and the sequences were deposited in Genbank (accession number AY239037). We determined that our population of A. caecus reproduced parthenogenetically by successively isolating and rearing eggs through the F4 generation on 9:5 plaster:charcoal media maintained at 21C, and by the absence of males. Molecular analysis of 16S rDNA for bacterium within our specimens failed to detect the ?-pro-teobacterium (Rickettseales) Wolbachia. Generation times, fecundity, and molt frequency were consistent with other reports for Collembola.

Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) Dating In Karst Environments, 2006,
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Blackwell, Bonnie A. B.

Electron spin resonance (ESR) dating has been developed for many materials, including hydroxyapatite in enamel, bone, and some fish scales, aragonite and calcite in travertine, molluscs, and calcrete, and quartz from ash, which have many potential applications in karst settings. Although the complexity of the signals in some materials has hampered routine application, research is solving these problems to make the method even more widely applicable. When tested against other dating techniques, age agreement has usually been excellent. Generally, the most reliable applications seem to be tooth enamel, some mollusc species, calcite deposits, and quartz minerals. ESR dating uses signals resulting from trapped charges created by radiation in crystalline solids. Ages are calculated by comparing the accumulated dose in the dating sample with the internal and external radiation dose rates produced by natural radiation in and around the sample. For fossils and authigenic minerals, no zeroing is necessary to obtain accurate ages. In sediment which contains reworked mineral clasts, ESR can be used to date the age of the mineral grain itself if it was not zeroed during erosion. For dating the sedimentation age, however, ESR signals must have been zeroed in order to give the correct age. High pressure, heating, and in some minerals, light exposure and grinding can zero an ESR signal, but some like hydroxyapatite have very high stability at surface temperatures. For materials that absorb uranium (U) during their burial history, such as teeth, bones, or mollusc shells, the age calculation considers their U uptake by cross calibrating with U series or U/Pb dating or by assuming different uptake models. Some difficulties in calculating the external dose rate can be overcome by applying the ESR isochron method, in which the sample acts as its own dosimeter. In open-air karst environments, changes in the external dose rate due to altered sediment cover, and hence, changing cosmic dose rates, need to be modelled. For all karst environments, sedimentary water concentration and mineralogical variations with time also need to be considered. Many ESR applications are currently used in karst settings, but several more are also possible.


Vashegyite from Gaura cu Musc? Cave., 2006,
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Onac Bogdan P. , Zaharia Lumini?a, Kearns Joe, Veres Daniel
This study investigated the occurrence of vashegyite from a guano-rich deposit located in the Gaura cu Musc? Cave, Romania. Analytical methods used include optical microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning electron-microscopy (SEM), inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), thermal investigations and Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) analyses. Vashegyite occurs as friable, chalky white, irregular nodules of up to 2.5 cm in diameter, within a 15 cm thick sequence of organic and minerogenic sediments. The chemical structural formula is: (Al10.91Fe3+ 0.06Na0.1Ca0.02Mg0.08)?=11.17[(PO4)8.78(SiO4)0.056]?=8.83(OH)6.1743.79H2O. Electron microscope images show vashegyite crystals to be flattened on (001). The orthorhombic lattice constants of vashegyite determined by XRD are a = 10.766(2) , b = 15.00(4) , c = 22.661(1) , and V = 3660.62 3 (Z = 4). The major weight loss, reflected in 3 endothermic peaks, was observed between 40 and 200C, corresponding to the removal of water molecules. Vashegyite FT-IR absorption bands are comparable in position and relative intensity to other Al-phosphates. Water percolating through guano becomes strongly acidic and reacts with the clay-rich sediment laid down by the underground stream to form vashegyite. In the lower part of the investigated profile, crandallite and ardealite were also found.

Petrographic and geochemical study on cave pearls from Kanaan Cave (Lebanon), 2007,
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Nader Fadi. H.
The Kanaan cave is situated at the coastal zone, north of Beirut City (capital of Lebanon). The cave is located within the upper part of the Jurassic Kesrouane Formation (Liassic to Oxfordian) which consists mainly of micritic limestone. Twenty seven cave pearls were subjected to petrographic (conventional and scanning electron microscopy) and geochemical analyses (major/trace elements and stable isotopes). The cave pearls were found in an agitated splash-pool with low mud content. They are believed to have formed through chemical precipitation of calcite in water over-saturated with calcium. The nucleus and micritic laminae show ? 18OV-PDB values of about -5.0 and ? 13C V-PDB values of -11.8, while the surrounding calcite spar laminae resulted in ?18OV-PDB ranging between -5.3 and -5.2, and ? 13C V-PDB between -12.3 and -12.1. A genesis/diagenesis model for these speleothems is proposed involving recrystallization which has selectively affected the inner layers of the cave pearls. This is chiefly invoked by sparry calcite crystals invading the inner micrite cortical laminae and the nuclei (cross-cutting the pre-existing mud-envelopes), and the slight depletion in ? 18O values from inner to outer cortical layers. The calculated ? 18OV-SMOW of the water (-4.2) matches with data on meteoric water signature for the central eastern Mediterranean region.

Biotic versus abiotic calcite formation on prehistoric cave paintings: the Arcy-sur-Cure 'Grande Grotte' (Yonne, France) case, 2007,
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Chalmin E, D'orlye F, Zinger L, Charlet L, Geremia Ra, Orial G, Menu M, Baffier D, Reiche I,
The Grande Grotte' cave at Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne, France) with its prehistoric paintings shows important calcite concretions. Two types of calcite have been observed on the wall: translucent yellowish layers and opaque white or grey layers that completely obstruct the paintings. Other calcite types are present in the lakes of the cave (floating calcite rafts at the surface of the lake and soft calcite at the bottom of the lake). The morphology of the different calcites was observed at different scales by optical microscopy with normal and polarized light, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The elemental composition was measured by using particle-induced X-ray emission (micro-PIXE) and the structure by X-ray diffraction (XRD), infrared (FT-IR) and Raman spectroscopy. The bacterial diversity and its role in calcite formation were assessed by culture and 16S-SSCP in order to distinguish and to assess various abiotic and biotic formation mechanisms. The investigation of calcite characteristics enables conclusions on the formation mechanism and on a biotic or abiotic origin of the calcites. The change of calcite types on the walls reveals changes of the environmental cave parameters. In addition, interactions of calcites with the prehistoric paint layer could be evaluated

Petrographic and geochemical study on cave pearls from Kanaan Cave (Lebanon), 2007,
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Nader Fadi H.
The Kanaan cave is situated at the coastal zone, north of Beirut City (capital of Lebanon). The cave is located within the upper part of the Jurassic Kesrouane Formation (Liassic to Oxfordian) which consists mainly of micritic limestone. Twenty seven cave pearls were subjected to petrographic (conventional and scanning electron microscopy) and geochemical analyses (major/trace elements and stable isotopes). The cave pearls were found in an agitated splash-pool with low mud content. They are believed to have formed through chemical precipitation of calcite in water over-saturated with calcium. The nucleus and micritic laminae show ? 18OV-PDB values of about -5.0 and ? 13C V-PDB values of -11.8, while the surrounding calcite spar laminae resulted in ?18OV-PDB ranging between -5.3 and -5.2, and ? 13C V-PDB between -12.3 and -12.1. A genesis/diagenesis model for these speleothems is proposed involving recrystallization which has selectively affected the inner layers of the cave pearls. This is chiefly invoked by sparry calcite crystals invading the inner micrite cortical laminae and the nuclei (cross-cutting the pre-existing mud-envelopes), and the slight depletion in ? 18O values from inner to outer cortical layers. The calculated ? 18OV-SMOW of the water (-4.2) matches with data on meteoric water signature for the central eastern Mediterranean region.

The impact of host rock geochemistry on bacterial community structure in oligotrophic cave environments, 2007,
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Barton Hazel A. , Taylor Nicholas M. , Kreate Michael P. , Springer Austin C. , Oehrle Stuart A. And Bertog Janet L.
Despite extremely starved conditions, caves contain surprisingly diverse microbial communities. Our research is geared toward understanding what ecosystems drivers are responsible for this high diversity. To asses the effect of rock fabric and mineralogy, we carried out a comparative geomicrobiology study within Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico, USA. Samples were collected from two different geologic locations within the cave: WF1 in the Massive Member of the Capitan Formation and sF88 in the calcareous siltstones of the Yates Formation. We examined the organic content at each location using liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy and analyzed microbial community structure using molecular phylogenetic analyses. In order to assess whether microbial activity was leading to changes in the bedrock at each location, the samples were also examined by petrology, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX). Our results suggest that on the chemically complex Yates Formation (sF88), the microbial community was significantly more diverse than on the limestone surfaces of the Capitan (WF1), despite a higher total number of cells on the latter. Further, the broader diversity of bacterial species at sF88 reflected a larger range of potential metabolic capabilities, presumably due to opportunities to use ions within the rock as nutrients and for chemolithotrophic energy production. The use of these ions at sF88 is supported by the formation of a corrosion residue, presumably through microbial scavenging activities. Our results suggest that rock fabric and mineralogy may be an important driver of ecosystem function and should be carefully reviewed when carrying out microbial community analysis in cave environments.

The impact of host rock geochemistry on bacterial community structure in oligotrophic cave environments., 2007,
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Barton Hazel A. , Taylor Nicholas M. , Kreate Michael P. , Springer Austin C. , Oehrle Stuart A, Bertog Janet L.
Despite extremely starved conditions, caves contain surprisingly diverse microbial communities. Our research is geared toward understanding what ecosystems drivers are responsible for this high diversity. To asses the effect of rock fabric and mineralogy, we carried out a comparative geomicrobiology study within Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico, USA. Samples were collected from two different geologic locations within the cave: WF1 in the Massive Member of the Capitan Formation and sF88 in the calcareous siltstones of the Yates Formation. We examined the organic content at each location using liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy and analyzed microbial community structure using molecular phylogenetic analyses. In order to assess whether microbial activity was leading to changes in the bedrock at each location, the samples were also examined by petrology, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX). Our results suggest that on the chemically complex Yates Formation (sF88), the microbial community was significantly more diverse than on the limestone surfaces of the Capitan (WF1), despite a higher total number of cells on the latter. Further, the broader diversity of bacterial species at sF88 reflected a larger range of potential metabolic capabilities, presumably due to opportunities to use ions within the rock as nutrients and for chemolithotrophic energy production. The use of these ions at sF88 is supported by the formation of a corrosion residue, presumably through microbial scavenging activities. Our results suggest that rock fabric and mineralogy may be an important driver of ecosystem function and should be carefully reviewed when carrying out microbial community analysis in cave environments.

The impact of host rock geochemistry on bacterial community structure in oligotrophic cave environments, 2007,
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Barton H. A. , Taylor N. M. , Kreate M. P. , Springer A. C. , Oehrle S. A. , Bertog J. L.

Despite extremely starved conditions, caves contain surprisingly diverse microbial communities. Our research is geared toward understanding what ecosystems drivers are responsible for this high diversity. To asses the effect of rock fabric and mineralogy, we carried out a comparative geomicrobiology study within Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico, USA. Samples were collected from two different geologic locations within the cave: WF1 in the Massive Member of the Capitan Formation and sF88 in the calcareous siltstones of the Yates Formation. We examined the organic content at each location using liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy and analyzed microbial community structure using molecular phylogenetic analyses. In order to assess whether microbial activity was leading to changes in the bedrock at each location, the samples were also examined by petrology, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX). Our results suggest that on the chemically complex Yates Formation (sF88), the microbial community was significantly more diverse than on the limestone surfaces of the Capitan (WF1), despite a higher total number of cells on the latter. Further, the broader diversity of bacterial species at sF88
reflected a larger range of potential metabolic capabilities, presumably due to opportunities to use ions within the rock as nutrients and for chemolithotrophic energy production. The use of these ions at sF88 is supported by the formation of a corrosion residue, presumably through microbial scavenging activities. Our results suggest that rock fabric and mineralogy may be an important driver of ecosystem function and should be carefully reviewed when carrying out microbial community analysis in cave environments.


Reticulated filaments in cave pool speleothems: microbe or mineral?, 2008,
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Melim L. A. , Northup D. E. , Spilde M. N. , Jones B. , Boston P. J. , And Bixby R. J.
We report on a reticulated filament found in modern and fossil cave samples that cannot be correlated to any known microorganism or organism part. These filaments were found in moist environments in five limestone caves (four in New Mexico, U.S.A., one in Tabasco, Mexico), and a basalt lava tube in the Cape Verde Islands. Most of the filaments are fossils revealed by etching into calcitic speleothems but two are on the surface of samples. One hundred eighty individual reticulated filaments were imaged from 16 different samples using scanning electron microscopy. The filaments are up to 75 mm (average 12 mm) long, but all filaments appear broken. These reticulated filaments are elongate, commonly hollow, tubes with an open mesh reminiscent of a fish net or honeycomb. Two different cross-hatched patterns occur; 77% of filaments have hexagonal chambers aligned parallel to the filament and 23% of filaments have diamond-shaped chambers that spiral along the filament. The filaments range from 300 nm to 1000 nm in diameter, but there are two somewhat overlapping populations; one 200400 nm in size and the other 500700 nm. Individual chambers range from 40 to 100 nm with 3040 nm thick walls. Similar morphologies to the cave reticulated filaments do exist in the microbial world, but all can be ruled out due to the absence of silica (diatoms), different size (diatoms, S-layers), or the presence of iron (Leptothrix sp.). Given the wide range of locations that contain reticulated filaments, we speculate that they are a significant cave microorganism albeit with unknown living habits.

Kryogene Karbonate im Hhleneis der Eisriesenwelt, 2008,
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Sptl, C.
Progressive freezing of calcium- and bicarbonate- bearing cave waters can give rise to high supersaturation and the subsequent precipitation of microscopic calcite crystals and aggregates thereof. These particles are disseminated in the ice of ice caves and may later be concentrated by sublimation or melting of ice to form thin carbonate beds in layered ice (cryogenic carbonates). Such white to light brown, silty to fine sandy layers occur in the rear of the ice-bearing part of the Eisriesenwelt cave (Werfen, Salzburg) and were previously regarded as finely disintegrated limestone powder derived from the cave ceiling. Studies using scanning electron microscopy show that this material consists of 30-200 ?m aggregates of euhedral crystals, which, according to powder Xray diffraction analyses, are near-stoichiometric low-Mg calcite. The crystal aggregates commonly show a conspicuous flat top and resemble larger floating calcite rafts known from calcite-precipitating pools in ice-free caves. There are gradual transitions between these aggregates and skeletal crystal aggregates and (hemi)spherulitic forms, respectively. The small particle size and the skeletal crystal habit strongly argue in favour of rapid crystal growth during freezing of shallow puddles of icy water. This interpretation is corroborated by the highly positive C isotope values, which, in conjunction with the O isotope data, prove the cryogenic origin of these carbonates. The proportion of detrital contamination is very low. This study is the first report of fine-grained cryogenic speleothems in an eastalpine cave. It is supposed that such sediments are more wide spread and thicker layers may represent important paleoenvironmental marker horizons.

Kryogene Calcitpartikel aus der Heilenbecker Hhle in Ennepetal (NE Bergisches Land/Nordrhein-Westfalen), 2008,
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Richter D. K. , Neuser R. D. , Voigt S.
Calcarenites to -rudites are present between fallen blocks in the Runde Halle of the Heilenbecker Cave in Ennepetal (NE Bergisches Land, Germany) and are mainly composed of four particle types: 1. plait sinter, 2. rhombohedral crystal sinter, 3. spherulites, 4. skeletal crystal sinter. These speleogenic particles were studied using scanning electron microscopy, cathodoluminescence microscopy and mass spectrometry (C/Oisotopes) in order to gain insights into their mode of formation. The very low 18O (6 to 16 VPDB) and 13C values (3 to 7VPDB) strongly suggest that these calcite particles formed in pools on ice during the transition from a glacial to a warm climate period. Growth of these particles apparently occurred during very slow freezing of water. After the ice had melted the cryogenic particles settled between and on the blocks of the cave.

Exploring the secrets of the three-dimensional architecture of phototrophic biofilms in caves, 2009,
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Roldn M. And Hernndezmarin M.
Caves with dim natural light, and lighted hypogean environments, have been found to host phototrophic microorganisms from various taxonomic groups. These microorganisms group themselves into assemblies known as communities or biofilms, which are associated with rock surfaces. In this work, the phototrophic biofilms that colonise speleothems, walls and floors in three tourist caves (Spain) were studied. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to study these organisms and acquire three-dimensional data on their biofilm structure. CLSM was used in a multi-channel mode whereby the different channels map individual biofilm components. Cyanobacteria, green microalgae, diatoms, mosses and lichens were found to be grouped as biofilms that differed according to the sampling sites. The biofilms were classified into six types regarding their environmental conditions. These types were defined by their constituent organisms, the thickness of their photosynthetic layers and their structure. Light-related stress is associated with lower biofilm thickness and species diversity, as is low humidity, and, in the case of artificially illuminated areas, the duration of light exposure

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