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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 bed, mortar is secondary calcium carbonate cementations in the lower part of a soil profile [16]. synonym: hardpan.?

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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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 biofilm (Keyword) returned 42 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 42 of 42
Chemical characterization of biofilms formed in hypogene spring caves of Budapest, 2013, Savoly Zoltan, Dobosy Peter, Barkacs Katalin, Erő, Ss Anita, Kuzmann Ernő, , Homonnay Zoltan, Madlsző, Nyi Judit, Zaray Gyula

Comparison of radioactivity of biofilm and thermal water, Buda Thermal Karst, Hungary, 2013, Freiler gnes, Horvth kos, Mdlsző, Nyi Judit, Erő, Ss Anita, Győ, Ri Orsolya, Surbeck Heinz, Gubicza Jenő,

Comparison of radioactivity of biofilm and thermal water, Buda Thermal Karst, Hungary, 2013, Freiler Agnes, Horvath Akos, Madlsző, Nyi Judit, Erő, Ss Anita

Bacterial diversity and community structure of biofilm and discharging thermal water found in spring caves of the Buda Thermal Karst System, 2013, Bki Gabriella, Anda Dra, Makk Judit, Erő, Ss Anita, Mdlsző, Nyi Judit, Mrialigeti Kroly, Borsodi Andrea K.

Thermal springs and hypogenic karstification processes in flow system context, 2013, Mdlsző, Nyi Judit, Erő, Ss Anita

Uplifted unconfined and adjoining confined continental carbonate aquifers contain thermal water with marginal thermal springs as decisive discharge features connected to tectonic contact between the unconfined and confined part of the system. These areas are characterised by positive thermal anomaly, particular mineral precipitates and phre-atophyte vegetation. These systems are important not only as sources of thermal water but the confined parts of the system can serve as hydrocarbon reservoirs, moreover Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) ore deposits can also be connected to such environ-ments. Hypogenic speleogenesis can be active at such marginal discharge zones of groundwater due to the direct corrosive effect of deep originated fluids. These different processes are known from the literature however their relationships have not been revealed comprehensively. The application of regional groundwater flow system theory and evaluation can give a chance to understand the common origin of these different processes, which is moving groundwater. The Buda Thermal Karst offers an exception-al natural laboratory where groundwater flow systems and their effect on rock matrix and the environment can be examined and proved directly. Moreover as new discharge phenomenon a karst corrosive biofilm was recognized here. The presentation displays the most important conclusions which can be generalized for areas with similar hydro-geological settings. The research is supported by the NK 101356 OTKA research grant


Chemical characterization of biofilms formed in hypogene spring caves of Budapest, 2013, Svoly Z. , Dobosy P. , Barkcs K. , Erő, Ss A. , Kuzmann E.

Insights into Cave Architecture and the Role of Bacterial Biofilm, 2013,

Caves offer a stable and protected environment from harsh and changing outside conditions. They lend living proof of the presence of minute life forms that delve deep within the earth’s crust where the possibility of life seems impossible. Devoid of all light sources and lacking the most common source of energy supplied through photosynthesis, the mysterious microbial kingdom in caves are consequently dependent upon alternative sources of energy derived from the surrounding atmosphere, minerals and rocks. There are a number of features that can be observed within a cave that may serve as evidence of microbial activity, for example, formation of biofilms comprised of multiple layers of microbial communities held together by protective gel-like polymers which form complex structures. Different bacterial biofilms can develop on the walls of the cave which can be visually distinguished by their colorations. Moreover, the pH generated by the metabolism of bacterial biofilm on the cave environment can lead to precipitation or dissolution of minerals in caves. Caves also offer an excellent scenario for studying biomineralization processes. The findings on the association of bacteria with secondary minerals as mentioned in this review will help to expand the existing knowledge in geomicrobiology and specifically on the influence of microorganisms in the formation of cave deposits. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge of biospeleology of caves and the associated bacterial biofilms. Recommendations for future research are mentioned to encourage a drift from qualitative studies to more experimental studies.


Diatom flora in subterranean ecosystems: a review., 2014, Falasco Elisa, Luc Ector, Marco Isaia, Carlos E. Wetzel, Lucien Hoffmann, Francesca Bona.

In scarcity of light and primary producers, subterranean ecosystems are generally extremely oligotrophic habitats, receiving poor supplies of degradable organic matter from the surface. Human direct impacts on cave ecosystems mainly derive from intensive tourism and recreational caving, causing important alterations to the whole subterranean environment. In particular, artificial lighting systems in show caves support the growth of autotrophic organisms (the so-called lampenflora), mainly composed of cyanobacteria, diatoms, chlorophytes, mosses and ferns producing exocellular polymeric substances (EPSs) made of polysaccharides, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. This anionic EPSs matrix mediates to the intercellular communications and participates to the chemical exchanges with the substratum, inducing the adsorption of cations and dissolved organic molecules from the cave formations (speleothems). Coupled with the metabolic activities of heterotrophic microorganisms colonising such layer (biofilm), this phenomenon may lead to the corrosion of the mineral surfaces. In this review, we investigate the formation of biofilms, especially of diatom-dominated ones, as a consequence of artificial lighting and its impacts on speleothems. Whenever light reaches the subterranean habitat (both artificially and naturally) a relative high number of species of diatoms may indeed colonise it. Cave entrances, artificially illuminated walls and speleothems inside the cave are generally the preferred substrates. This review focuses on the diatom flora colonising subterranean habitats, summarizing the information contained in all the scientific papers published from 1900 up to date. In this review we provide a complete checklist of the diatom taxa recorded in subterranean habitats, including a total of 363 taxa, belonging to 82 genera. The most frequent and abundant species recorded in caves and other low light subterranean habitats are generally aerophilic and cosmopolitan. These are, in order of frequency: Hantzschia amphioxys, Diadesmis contenta, Orthoseira roeseana, Luticola nivalis, Pinnularia borealis, Diadesmis biceps and Luticola mutica. Due to the peculiarity of the subterranean habitats, the record of rare or new species is relatively common. The most important environmental factors driving species composition and morphological modifications observed in subterranean populations are analysed throughout the text and tables. In addition, suggestions to prevent and remove the corrosive biofilms in view of an environmentally sustainable cave management are discussed.


Speleothem and biofilm formation in a granite/dolerite cave, Northern Sweden, 2014, Sallstedt Therese, Ivarsson Magnus, Lundberg Johannes, Sjöberg Rabbe, Vidal Romaní Juan Ramón.

Tjuv-Antes grotta (Tjuv-Ante's Cave) located in northern Sweden is a round-abraded sea cave ('tunnel cave'), about 30 m in length, formed by rock-water abrasion in a dolerite dyke in granite gneiss. Abundant speleothems are restricted to the inner, mafic parts of the cave and absent on granite parts. The speleothems are of two types: cylindrical (coralloid, popcorn-like), and flowstone (thin crusts). Coralloids correspond to terrestrial stromatolite speleothems in which layers of light calcite alternate with dark, silica-rich laminae. The dark laminae are also enriched in carbon and contain incorporated remains of microorganisms. Two types of microbial communities can be distinguished associated with the speleothems: an Actinobacteria-like biofilm and a fungal community. Actinobacteria seem to play an important role in the formation of speleothem while the fungal community acts as both a constructive and a destructive agent. A modern biofilm dominated by Actinobacteria is present in the speleothem-free parts of the dolerite and located in cave ceiling cracks. These biofilms may represent sites of early speleothem formation. Because of its unusual position in between two types of host rock, Tjuv-Ante's Cave represents a unique environment in which to study differences in microbe-rock interactions and speleothem genesis between the granite and dolerite host rock. Our study shows that the mafic rock is superior to the granite in hosting a microbial community and to support formation of speleothems.


The show cave of Diros vs. wild caves of Peloponnese, Greece - distribution patterns of Cyanobacteria, 2014, Lamprinou Vasiliki, Danielidis Daniel B. , Pantazidou Adriani, Oikonomou Alexandra, Economouamilli Athena.

The karst cave ‘Vlychada’of Diros, one of the oldest show caves in Peloponnese, sustains extended phototrophic biofilms on various substrata – on rocks inside the cave including speleothems, and especially near the artificial lighting installation (‘Lampenflora’). After a survey of the main abiotic parameters (Photosynthetically Active Radiation -PAR, Temperature -T, Relative Humidity -RH, Carbon Dioxide -CO2) three clusters of sampling sites were revealed according to Principal Component Analysis (PCA): i) the water gallery section predominately influenced by CO2, ii) the dry passages influenced by RH and PAR, and iii) the area by the cave exit at the dry section influenced by temperature. The collected samples from the water gallery section and the dry passages of the cave revealed a total of 43 taxa of Cyanobacteria, with the unicellular/colonial forms being the most abundant. The applied non-metric Multi-dimensional Scaling Ordination (nMDS) of the cumulative species composition showed a clear distinction between the water gallery section and the dry passages of the cave. Further comparison with previous data from other wild caves of Peloponnese (‘Kastria’, ‘Francthi’, and ‘Selinitsa’) was conducted revealing a distinction between the show cave and the wild ones. Apart from the human impact on cave ecosystems – through aesthetic alteration (‘greening’) of cave decorations by the ‘Lampenflora’, and by the cleaning treatments and restoration projects on the speleothems – identification of the organisms constituting the ‘Lampenflora’ might provide taxonomically and ecologically significant taxa.


The influence of light attenuation on the biogeomorphology of a marine karst cave: A case study of Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan, the Philippines, 2015, Coombes Martin A. , La Marca Emanuela C. , Naylor Larissa A. , Piccini Leonardo, De Waele Jo, Sauro Francesco

Karst caves are unique biogeomorphological systems. Cave walls offer habitat for microorganisms which in-turn have a geomorphological role via their involvement in rock weathering, erosion and mineralisation. The attenuation of light with distance into caves is known to affect ecology, but the implications of this for biogeomorphological processes and forms have seldom been examined. Here we describe a semi-quantitative microscopy study comparing the extent, structure, and thickness of biocover and depth of endolithic penetration for samples of rock from the Puerto Princesa Underground River system in Palawan, the Philippines, which is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Organic growth at the entrance of the cave was abundant (100% occurrence) and complex, dominated by phototrophic organisms (green microalgae, diatoms, cyanobacteria, mosses and lichens). Thickness of this layer was 0.28 ± 0.18 mm with active endolith penetration into the limestone (mean depth = 0.13 ± 0.03 mm). In contrast, phototrophs were rare 50 m into the cave and biofilm cover was significantly thinner (0.01 ± 0.01 mm, p b 0.000) and spatially patchy (33% occurrence). Endolithic penetration here was also shallower (b0.01mm, p b 0.000) and non-uniform. Biofilm was found 250 m into the cave, but with a complete absence of phototrophs and no evidence of endolithic bioerosion.

We attribute these findings to light-induced stress gradients, showing that the influence of light on phototroph abundance has knock-on consequences for the development of limestone morphological features. In marine caves this includes notches, which were most well-developed at the sheltered cave entrance of our study site, and for which variability in formation rates between locations is currently poorly understood.


Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, 2015, 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

Helictites—an enigmatic type of mineral structure occurring in some caves—differ from classical speleothems as they develop with orientations that defy gravity. While theories for helictite formation have been forwarded, their genesis remains equivocal. Here, we show that a remarkable suite of helictites occurring in Asperge Cave (France) are formed by biologically-mediated processes, rather than abiotic processes as had hitherto been proposed. Morphological and petro-physical properties are inconsistent with mineral precipitation under purely physico-chemical control.

Instead, microanalysis and molecular-biological investigation reveals the presence of a prokaryotic biofilm intimately associated with the mineral structures. We propose that microbially-influenced mineralization proceeds within a gliding biofilm which serves as a nucleation site for CaCO3, and where chemotaxis influences the trajectory of mineral growth, determining the macroscopic morphology of the speleothems. The influence of biofilms may explain the occurrence of similar speleothems in other caves worldwide, and sheds light on novel biomineralization processes.


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