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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. ...

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. ...

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 11 Jul, 2012
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 natural load is sediment carried by a stable stream [16].?

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
Engineering challenges in Karst, Stevanović, Zoran; Milanović, Petar
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Geochemical and mineralogical fingerprints to distinguish the exploited ferruginous mineralisations of Grotta della Monaca (Calabria, Italy), Dimuccio, L.A.; Rodrigues, N.; Larocca, F.; Pratas, J.; Amado, A.M.; Batista de Carvalho, L.A.
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
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Your search for biodiversity (Keyword) returned 48 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 48
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.

Intermittent lakes of the upper Pivka - protection in time, 2005, Cernatič, A. G. , Gorkič, M.

The article presents an overview on organized protection of the intermittent lakes in the Upper Pivka based on nature protection legislation starting from the late 1960s. It includes details on the present protection status of the lakes based on the Act on nature conservation (Zakon o ohranjanju … 2004). Besides protection guidelines to preserve the lakes characteristics some most appropriate possibilities to introduce this area into development plans are also discussed.

Fauna of the land habitats of the Pivka lakes, 2005, Polak, S.

The paper gives an overview of the current knowledge of the fauna of the land habitats around the Pivka lakes. So far 20 mammal species and 127 bird species have been identified. Of the bird species, 75 also nest here. Special attention is paid to European conservation species such as the corn crake, woodlark, nightjar and barred warbler. The nesting density of the barred warbler, skylark, red-backed shrike and corn bunting at the Pivka lakes is among the highest in the country. In the area of the Pivka lakes 8 reptile species and 9 amphibian species have been identified. The majority of these species are on the Red List of Threatened Animals. The butterflies have been relatively well researched. 106 species have been identified in the area, which amounts to 57% of all species of butterflies living in Slovenia. Many of them are threatened and vulnerable species. To the present, 210 species of beetles have been identified, live here. Many of the threatened species are connected with the marshy grasslands of the lakes, dry karst grasslands and barren rocky outcrops. There are fewer threatened animal species in the forests and brush. The remains of old oak forests are scientifically important. Due to the abandonment of land use by humans in the area of the Pivka lakes we can observe the rapid overgrowth of pasturelands, which leads to decreased biodiversity. In addition to legal protection of the Pivka lakes it is therefore also recommend active management and conservation as well as preserving and encouragement of the formerly extensive farming practices.

Aquifers: the ultimate groundwater-dependent ecosystems, 2006, Humphreys W. F. ,
Australian aquifers support diverse metazoan faunas comprising obligate groundwater inhabitants, largely crustaceans but also including insects, worms, gastropods, mites and fish. They typically comprise short-range endemics, often of relictual lineages and sometimes widely vicariant from their closest relatives. They have been confined to subterranean environments from a range of geological eras and may contain information on the deep history of aquifers. Obligate groundwater fauna ( stygobites) occurs in the void spaces in karst, alluvial and fractured rock aquifers. They have convergent morphologies ( reduction or loss of eyes, pigment, enhanced nonoptic senses, vermiform body form) and depend on energy imported from the surface except in special cases of in situ chemoautotrophic energy fixation. In Australia, many stygofaunas in arid areas occur in brackish to saline waters, although they contain taxa from lineages generally restricted to freshwater systems. They may occur alongside species belonging to taxa considered typical of the marine littoral although far removed in space and time from marine influence. The ecological attributes of stygofauna makes them vulnerable to changes in habitat, which, combined with their taxonomic affinities, makes them a significant issue to biodiversity conservation. The interaction of vegetation and groundwater ecosystems is discussed and, in places, there are conservation issues common to both

Zoogeography and biodiversity of Missouri caves and karst, 2007, Elliott W. R.
The Missouri Cave Life Database contains 927 species and about 12,500 observation and collection records. About 1,038 (17%) of Missouris 6,200 caves and cave springs are biocaves with at least one species record, but only 491 sites (8%) have five or more species recorded. Missouri has 82 troglobites (67 described, 15 undescribed), including 49 aquatic and 33 terrestrial species. The aquatics include 30 described and six undescribed stygobites, plus 13 described phreatobites. The terrestrials include 24 described and nine undescribed species. Six of the troglobites (four described) may actually be troglophiles, edaphobites or neotroglobites. There are about 215 troglophiles (17 aquatic), 203 trogloxenes (20 aquatic) and 407 accidentals or of uncertain ecological classification (27 aquatic). Karst zoogeographic regions include the broad Springfield and Salem plateaus; the Boone, Hannibal, St. Louis, Jefferson-Ste. Genevieve, and Perryville karsts; and an isolated area, Caney Mountain. Troglobites are currently known from 728Missouri sites, including 597 caves (10% of known caves). Twenty-five troglobites, eight of which are new species, occur at single sites only. Missouri shares 48 troglobites with other states, exhibiting relatively low diversity in terrestrial troglobites compared to areas east of the Mississippi River, but high aquatic biodiversity. Values for species richness (SR), troglobites, site endemism (SE) and biodiversity (B) were derived to rank and compare caves for conservation planning. Many species and biologically important biocaves were added to the Missouri Natural Heritage Database and the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, a long-range, statewide conservation plan. Further work should focus on poorly known regions.

Observations on the biodiversity of sulfidic karst habitats, 2007, Engel Annette Summers
Recognition of the metabolic process of chemosynthesis has recently overthrown the ecological dogma that all life on earth is dependent on sunlight. In complete darkness, complex ecosystems can be sustained by the energy and nutrients provided by chemosynthetic microorganisms. Many of these chemosynthetically-based ecosystems result from microbial manipulation of energy-rich sulfur compounds that can be found in high concentrations in groundwater. Subsurface environments in general can be highly stressful habitats (i.e., darkness, limited food, etc.), but in the case of sulfidic groundwater habitats, organisms must also tolerate and adapt to different stresses (e.g., toxic levels of gases or lethally low oxygen concentrations). Nevertheless, these habitats, and specifically cave and karst aquifers, have a richly diverse fauna. This review focuses on the biodiversity (as the number and types of species) of sulfur-based cave and karst aquifer systems. The relationships among ecosystem productivity, biodiversity, and habitat and ecosystem stresses are explored. The relatively high numbers of species and complex trophic levels could be attributed to the rich and plentiful, chemosyntheticallyproduced food source that has permitted organisms to survive in and to adapt to harsh habitat conditions. The geologic age and the hydrological and geochemical stability of the cave and karst aquifer systems may have also influenced the types of ecosystems observed. However, similar to non-sulfidic karst systems, more descriptions of the functional roles of karst aquifer microbes and macroscopic organisms are needed. As subterranean ecosystems are becoming increasingly more impacted by environmental and anthropogenic pressures, this review and the questions raised within it will lead to an improved understanding of the vulnerability, management, and sustainability challenges facing these unique ecosystems.


Turloughs are seasonally flooded karst wetlands in Ireland and as priority habitats under the EU Habitats Directive, many have been designated as Special Areas of Conservation. They flood usually in winter, mostly through swallow holes, or estavelles, that open to the underlying limestone, but they may fill at any time of year if rainfall is excessive. Almost all of them occur on well-bedded pure Carboniferous limestone. Since the shallow basins of turloughs are usually covered in veg­etation, unlike more permanent water bodies, they are excellent feeding areas for over-wintering wildfowl, such as ducks, geese and swans, hosting numbers of international importance. Tur­loughs are almost all grazed by domestic livestock in the sum­mer months and they support relatively low-intensity farming due to their marginal nature and inaccessibility for much of the year. The vegetation depends to a large extent on the flooding regime and on soil type, usually comprising small-sedge com­munities or grass-dominated swards. The type of management varies considerably, not only between, but within turloughs. This gives rise to a diversity of sward composition and structure that increases both plant and invertebrate diversity. Whereas drainage was a large threat to turlough conservation in the past, eutrophication of flood waters is gaining in importance. However, the single greatest threat to turlough biodiversity in the future may be the cessation of farming within their basins. Turloughs are an integral part of the Irish cultural landscape and so it is important to develop a strategy for turlough con­servation that involves the land-owners and takes into account local socio-economic factors as well as the conservation of their biodiversity.


Biodiversity and ecology of fauna in percolating water from Slovenian and Romanian caves was studied. Research focused on unravelling the community structure of epikarst fauna, which is carried away by the trickles of percolating water from the epikarst and vadose zones. The major part of the fauna found in percolating water is represented by copepods. This fauna, originating in the epikarst, was analysed and by means of the systematic sampling and observation the same groups of animals were found in Slovenian and Romanian caves. Differences among caves and sampling points indicate that epikarst is a heterogenous habitat. Relationship between faunal richness and the physical characteristics of the water was found. Correlation between surface geomorphology and fauna in percolating water was statistically significant in the Postojna cave system.

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.

The Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for Niphargus glenniei (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Niphargidae): the first British troglobite to be listed, 2008, Knight, Lee R F D.
The cave shrimp Niphargus glenniei (Spooner, 1952) has recently been placed on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) list of priority species. This represents the first aquatic hypogean taxon to be given conservation status/recognition in the UK. This paper outlines the selection procedure and the conservation actions required for the species in the future.

Balancing the conservation needs of sulphidic caves and karst with tourism, economic development, and scientific study, 2008, Porter, Megan L And Annette Summers Engel.
Over the last fifteen years, sulphidic karst has received increasing recognition as unique systems where new discoveries of both biological and geological features have captured the imagination of the public media and the academic community. The unique resources found within both active and relict sulphidic karst systems are globally important to karst conservation issues. In this paper we describe some of the unique geological and biological features of sulphidic caves and karst and present strategies for the conservation and protection of this exceptional habitat.

Les Pavements calcaires (Limestone pavements). Caractrisation et valeur patrimoniale dun habitat complexe selon une approche pluridisciplinaire, 2008, Gaudillat V.
Limestone pavements. Characterization and patrimonial value of a complex habitat according to a pluridisciplinary approach. The "Habitats" directive aims to preserve biodiversity within the European Union. Within habitats of community interest that have to be maintained in good conservation are limestone pavements. Difficulties in their characteristics led to specifying its definition for France. A pluridisciplinary study proved to be necessary, with a geomorphological approach in the first time, later adding vegetation. In the beginning, the habitat was mentioned only in the United Kingdom and in Ireland, its official definition is built on its expression in these two States. To help with comprehension, a short presentation of British and Irish pavements is made. It turns out that limestone pavements constitute a type of tabular karren field with a network of fissures (grikes or Kluftkarren) which flat blocks in between (clints or Flachkarren). The vegetation is characterized by a mosaic made up of fissure plant communities rich in ferns, moist vegetations of pits and pans, grasslands, heaths, thickets, even wooded parts. In France this habitat is mainly present in the calcareous Forealps and more sparsely in the Jura, the internal and middle Alps, the Mediterranean region and the Pyrenees. Very little synthetic studies about this habitat exist in France, and its patrimonial value is hardly documented. However, it has a real geological and geomorphological interest, in particular as a record of the landscape and climate evolution. The habitat offers a great diversity of ecological niches corresponding to an important diversity of flora and fauna. These, however, are rarely specific to the habitat and can be found also in other contexts.Still, threatened or rare species with high patrimonial value can be found on the pavements. The situation highly varies from one site to another. This pluridisciplinary approach presents the various aspects of the habitat according to the used disciplines and to sensibilizes specialists and users of this habitat towards its preservation.

Gunung Sewu Karst is situated in the block faulted of Southern Java Zone, Indonesia. The area has been uplifted since the Late Pliocene. Three major uplift phases were reported have been taking place resulting in the exposure of Miocene carbonate rocks. Prevailing tropical monsoon climate has made possible the carbonate formations have evolved through karstification process. Three phases of the uplifting thereafter have resulted in three karst landform evolution. Karst landform evolution in Gunungsewu Karst inevitably determined pre-historic human habitation. During the first stage when surface river was active, human settlement occupy open space along river courses. When the caves were exposed in the second stage, human settlement moved to the caves and distributed along dry valleys or near doline ponds. Cave habitations ended when major depression dried out providing extensive agricultural land. In the modern era, the situation was inverted in which the human habitation determind geomorphologic processes. Soil erosion was accelerated due to deforestation and agricultural land extensification. Native species were replaced by exotic species commodities Big mammals mentioned above were extinct.

Caves and Karst as Model Systems for Advancing the Microbial Sciences, 2008, Engel A. S. , Northup D. E.

The Struggle to Measure Subterranean Biodiversity, 2008, Culver, D. C.

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