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How to protect a diverse, poorly known, inaccessible fauna: identification and protection of source and sink habitats in the epikarst

How to protect a diverse, poorly known, inaccessible fauna: identification and protection of... 1. Aquatic subterranean species are often geographically and numerically scarce. Many of these species are denizens of epikarst, the uppermost zone of karst with semi‐isolated solutional openings and channels, and are only known from drip pools in caves where they accumulate as a result of animals dripping out of the epikarst. 2. The question of whether these pool communities adequately reflected the epikarst community was addressed by directly collecting animals from drips in a continuous collecting device. 3. The study area was six caves in Slovenia, where a total of 35 drips and associated pools were sampled for copepods for a period of approximately one year. A total of 37 copepod species were found, 25 of them stygobionts and 16 epikarst specialists. 4. Overall, the frequency of stygobionts was 1.5 times higher in drips compared with pools and the frequency of epikarst specialists was three times higher in drips compared with pools, and the frequency of immature individuals was higher in drips compared with pools, with the exception of one artificially enlarged pool in Škocjanske jame. The cause of this difference is probably increased juvenile mortality in pools and reduced reproduction, indicating that pools are not source populations. 5. The results of this research suggest that epikarst per se, not just the sampling sites (including pools) in caves, needs to be the focus of conservation planning. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems Wiley

How to protect a diverse, poorly known, inaccessible fauna: identification and protection of source and sink habitats in the epikarst

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISSN
1052-7613
eISSN
1099-0755
DOI
10.1002/aqc.1148
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1. Aquatic subterranean species are often geographically and numerically scarce. Many of these species are denizens of epikarst, the uppermost zone of karst with semi‐isolated solutional openings and channels, and are only known from drip pools in caves where they accumulate as a result of animals dripping out of the epikarst. 2. The question of whether these pool communities adequately reflected the epikarst community was addressed by directly collecting animals from drips in a continuous collecting device. 3. The study area was six caves in Slovenia, where a total of 35 drips and associated pools were sampled for copepods for a period of approximately one year. A total of 37 copepod species were found, 25 of them stygobionts and 16 epikarst specialists. 4. Overall, the frequency of stygobionts was 1.5 times higher in drips compared with pools and the frequency of epikarst specialists was three times higher in drips compared with pools, and the frequency of immature individuals was higher in drips compared with pools, with the exception of one artificially enlarged pool in Škocjanske jame. The cause of this difference is probably increased juvenile mortality in pools and reduced reproduction, indicating that pools are not source populations. 5. The results of this research suggest that epikarst per se, not just the sampling sites (including pools) in caves, needs to be the focus of conservation planning. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Journal

Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater EcosystemsWiley

Published: Nov 1, 2010

References