Special Issue "Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Biogeography and Macroecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Tanja Pipan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts Karst Research Institute, Novi trg 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: biodiversity; biogeography; ecology; speleobiology
Prof. Dr. David C. Culver
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016, USA
Interests: biogeography; evolutionary ecology; speleobiology
Dr. Louis Deharveng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité (ISYEB), UMR7205, CNRS, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Sorbonne Université, EPHE, 45 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
Interests: biogeography; evolutionary ecology; speleobiology; taxonomy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Thousands of species are known exclusively from caves and associated subterranean habitats. Many of these species are without eyes or pigment, and have adaptations to life in darkness. Collectively, they are one of the best examples of convergent evolution known. Globally, the number of caves is in the thousands, but only a very few harbor more than a handful of species. We provide an update on these hotspot caves, first enumerated by David Culver and Boris Sket in 2000. After an overview by the editors, approximately ten of these hotspot caves will be described and the fauna enumerated. The included caves will have 25 or more stygobionts, 25 or more troglobionts, or will be one of the richest caves in a large region, especially the tropics.

Prof. Dr. Tanja Pipan
Prof. Dr. David C. Culver
Dr. Louis Deharveng
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • hotspot caves
  • karst
  • stygobionts
  • subterranean biodiversity
  • subterranean biogeography
  • troglobionts

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research

Editorial
Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050209 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 953
Abstract
Worldwide, caves and groundwater habitats harbor thousands of species modified and limited to subterranean habitats in karst. Data are concentrated in Europe and USA, where a number of detailed analyses have been performed. Much less is known with respect to global patterns due [...] Read more.
Worldwide, caves and groundwater habitats harbor thousands of species modified and limited to subterranean habitats in karst. Data are concentrated in Europe and USA, where a number of detailed analyses have been performed. Much less is known with respect to global patterns due to a lack of data. This special issue will focus on and discuss the global patterns of individual hotspot caves and groundwater habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
Undara Lava Cave Fauna in Tropical Queensland with an Annotated List of Australian Subterranean Biodiversity Hotspots
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070326 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 392
Abstract
The lava tubes at Undara became internationally recognised in the late 1980s, when 24 species of terrestrial cave-adapted invertebrates (troglobionts) were recorded from Bayliss Cave, making it one of the 20 richest known cave communities in the world at the time. Over the [...] Read more.
The lava tubes at Undara became internationally recognised in the late 1980s, when 24 species of terrestrial cave-adapted invertebrates (troglobionts) were recorded from Bayliss Cave, making it one of the 20 richest known cave communities in the world at the time. Over the last decades, several of the Undara species have been taxonomically described and a great deal of research has been undertaken in other parts of Australia, which has revealed additional subterranean hotspots. It is therefore timely to update the list of Undara cave fauna, and to evaluate the Undara cave system in relation to other subterranean hotspots in Australia. The updated species list was compiled from the published literature and museum databases. Minimally, 78 species of arthropods have been recorded from 17 lava tube caves in the Undara Basalt. Sixteen species have been taxonomically described; 30 identified to genus and/or morpho-species; and 32 remain unidentified to species or genus level. Thirty troglobionts and one stygobiont species were recorded. Seven caves harboured obligate subterranean species; Bayliss Cave harboured the most obligate subterranean species: 23 troglobionts and one stygobiont. All these caves contained deep zone environments with high humidity, of which three also contained ‘bad air’ (CO2). The unique combination of geomorphic structure and environmental parameters (high humidity) and multiple energy sources (tree roots, bats and guano, organic material wash-in) are the main factors responsible for Bayliss Cave’s extraordinary local richness. Further research is needed to investigate CO2 as a factor influencing troglobiont richness and distribution in ‘bad air’ caves. Undara remains the richest subterranean hotspot in humid tropical Australia; however, significantly richer subterranean assemblages are found in arid and semi-arid calcrete aquifers, karst and iron-ore terrains, mostly in Western Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Postojna-Planina Cave System in Slovenia, a Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity and a Cradle of Speleobiology
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060271 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 394
Abstract
The Postojna-Planina Cave System (PPCS) in central Slovenia is a globally exceptional site of subterranean biodiversity, comprised of many interconnected caves with cumulative passage length exceeding 34 km. Two rivers sink into the caves of the PPCS, called the Pivka and Rak, and [...] Read more.
The Postojna-Planina Cave System (PPCS) in central Slovenia is a globally exceptional site of subterranean biodiversity, comprised of many interconnected caves with cumulative passage length exceeding 34 km. Two rivers sink into the caves of the PPCS, called the Pivka and Rak, and join underground into Unica River, which emerges to the surface. The studies of fauna of PPCS began in the 19th century with the first scientific descriptions of specialized cave animals in the world, making it “the cradle of speleobiology”. Currently, the species list of PPCS contains 116 troglobiotic animal species belonging to eight phyla, confirming its status as the richest in the world. Of these, 47 species have been scientifically described from the PPCS, and more than 10 await formal taxonomic descriptions. We expect that further sampling, detailed analyses of less studied taxa, and the use of molecular methods may reveal more species. To keep the cave animals’ checklist in PPCS up-to-date, we have supplemented the printed checklist with an online interface. As the revised checklist is a necessary first step for further activities, we discuss the importance of PPCS in terms of future research and conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Stygobiont Diversity in the San Marcos Artesian Well and Edwards Aquifer Groundwater Ecosystem, Texas, USA
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060234 - 26 May 2021
Viewed by 916
Abstract
The Edwards Aquifer and related Edwards-Trinity Aquifer of Central Texas, USA, is a global hotspot of stygobiont biodiversity. We summarize 125 years of biological investigation at the San Marcos Artesian Well (SMAW), the best studied and most biodiverse groundwater site (55 stygobiont taxa: [...] Read more.
The Edwards Aquifer and related Edwards-Trinity Aquifer of Central Texas, USA, is a global hotspot of stygobiont biodiversity. We summarize 125 years of biological investigation at the San Marcos Artesian Well (SMAW), the best studied and most biodiverse groundwater site (55 stygobiont taxa: 39 described and 16 undescribed) within the Edwards Aquifer Groundwater Ecosystem. Cluster analysis and redundancy analysis (RDA) incorporating temporally derived, distance-based Moran’s Eigenvector Mapping (dbMem) illustrate temporal dynamics in community composition in 85 high-frequency samples from the SMAW. Although hydraulic variability related to precipitation and discharge partially explained changes in community composition at the SMAW, a large amount of temporal autocorrelation between samples remains unexplained. We summarize potential mechanisms by which hydraulic changes can affect community structure in deep, phreatic karst aquifers. We also compile information on 12 other Edwards and Edwards-Trinity Aquifer sites with 10 or more documented stygobionts and used distance-based RDA to assess the relative influences of distance and site type on three measures of β-diversity. Distance between sites was the most important predictor of total dissimilarity and replacement, although site type was also important. Species richness difference was not predicted by either distance or site type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Biodiversity in the Cueva del Viento Lava Tube System (Tenerife, Canary Islands)
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060226 - 23 May 2021
Viewed by 433
Abstract
Cueva del Viento and Cueva de Felipe Reventón are lava tubes located in Tenerife, Canary Islands, and are considered the volcanic caves with the greatest cave-dwelling diversity in the world. Geological aspects of the island relevant to the formation of these caves are [...] Read more.
Cueva del Viento and Cueva de Felipe Reventón are lava tubes located in Tenerife, Canary Islands, and are considered the volcanic caves with the greatest cave-dwelling diversity in the world. Geological aspects of the island relevant to the formation of these caves are discussed, and their most outstanding internal geomorphological structures are described. An analysis of the environmental parameters relevant to animal communities is made, and an updated list of the cave-adapted species and their way of life into the caves is provided. Some paleontological data and comments on the conservation status of these tubes are included. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Subterranean Fauna of Križna Jama, Slovenia
Diversity 2021, 13(5), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13050210 - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 475
Abstract
The karstic cave Križna jama in the South Western part of Slovenia is one of the largest, well known and most beautiful Slovene water caves. The cave consists of more than 8 km of corridors with impressive halls, colossal dripstone formations, a subterranean [...] Read more.
The karstic cave Križna jama in the South Western part of Slovenia is one of the largest, well known and most beautiful Slovene water caves. The cave consists of more than 8 km of corridors with impressive halls, colossal dripstone formations, a subterranean river and numerous lakes. Considering the subterranean fauna, Križna jama has been identified amongst the richest caves in the world. So far, 60 troglobionts, the obligate subterranean species among them 32 aquatic and 28 terrestrial taxa have been recorded and documented. Križna jama has scientific importance, as well as ten subterranean taxa, which have been described based on specimens from this cave. Despite Križna jama is relatively well-studied, new recent unexpected findings are promising. Thus, further discoveries of specialized subterranean species in the cave are expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Ojo Guareña: A Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity in Spain
Diversity 2021, 13(5), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13050199 - 08 May 2021
Viewed by 486
Abstract
Ojo Guareña Natural Monument in Burgos (Spain) is an important and large karstic system. It consists of more than 110 km of surveyed galleries, and it has rich sources of organic material from the surface and permanent water circulation. It is the fourth [...] Read more.
Ojo Guareña Natural Monument in Burgos (Spain) is an important and large karstic system. It consists of more than 110 km of surveyed galleries, and it has rich sources of organic material from the surface and permanent water circulation. It is the fourth largest cave system in the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the 10 largest in Europe. Ojo Guareña also ranks 23rd among the world’s largest caves. To date, only volcanic caves in the Canary Islands, in which between 28 and 38 subterranean species occur, are considered subterranean diversity hotspots in Spain. Here, we provide the first list of subterranean taxa present in Ojo Guareñ, which is comprised of 54 taxa that includes 46 stygobiotic and eight troglobiotic species (some still unidentified at the species level), revealing Ojo Guareña as the largest known subterranean biodiversity hotspot in Spain and Portugal. In addition, we provide a list of an additional 48 taxa, 34 stygophiles and 14 troglophiles, found in the system, whose ecological status could change with detailed biological studies, which may change the number of strictly subterranean species present in the system. Indeed, at present, these numbers are provisional as they correspond to a small part of this sizeable cave system. The biodiversity of large areas of the system remains unknown as these areas have yet to be explored from the biological point of view. In addition, a large number of samples of both terrestrial and aquatic fauna are still under study by specialists. Furthermore, evidence of cryptic species within Bathynellacea (Crustacea) indicates an underestimation of biodiversity in the karstic system. Despite these limitations, the data available reveal the typical uneven distribution of subterranean aquatic fauna, and suggest that the great heterogeneity of the microhabitats in this wide and highly connected karstic extension led to the great richness of aquatic subterranean species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Chemoautotrophically Based Movile Cave Groundwater Ecosystem, a Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030128 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
Movile Cave hosts one of the world’s most diverse subsurface invertebrate communities. In the absence of matter and energy input from the surface, this ecosystem relies entirely on in situ primary productivity by chemoautotrophic microorganisms. The energy source for these microorganisms is the [...] Read more.
Movile Cave hosts one of the world’s most diverse subsurface invertebrate communities. In the absence of matter and energy input from the surface, this ecosystem relies entirely on in situ primary productivity by chemoautotrophic microorganisms. The energy source for these microorganisms is the oxidation of hydrogen sulfide provided continuously from the deep thermomineral aquifer, alongside methane, and ammonium. The microbial biofilms that cover the water surface, the cave walls, and the sediments, along with the free-swimming microorganisms, represent the food that protists, rotifers, nematodes, gastropods, and crustacean rely on. Voracious water-scorpions, leeches, and planarians form the peak of the aquatic food web in Movile Cave. The terrestrial community is even more diverse. It is composed of various species of worms, isopods, pseudoscorpions, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, springtails, diplurans, and beetles. An updated list of invertebrate species thriving in Movile Cave is provided herein. With 52 invertebrate species (21 aquatic and 31 terrestrial), of which 37 are endemic for this unusual, but fascinating environment, Movile Cave is the first known chemosynthesis-based groundwater ecosystem. Therefore, Movile Cave deserves stringent attention and protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop