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The Biology of Caves and Other Subterranean Habitats$
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David C. Culver and Tanja Pipan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198820765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198820765.001.0001

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The Subterranean Domain

The Subterranean Domain

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The Subterranean Domain
Source:
The Biology of Caves and Other Subterranean Habitats
Author(s):

David C. Culver

Tanja Pipan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198820765.003.0001

The main subterranean habitats are: small cavities—interstitial spaces beneath surface waters; large cavities—caves; and shallow subterranean habitats—voids of various sizes close to the surface. The defining feature of all these habitats is the absence of light. Environmental variation is also reduced and most subterranean habitats rely on nutrients transported from the surface. The aquatic component of caves includes water percolating from the surface (including epikarst), streams, and resurgences. Terrestrial habitats include epikarst, and the vadose zone. The aquatic interstitial habitat is comprised of the water-filled spaces between grains of unconsolidated sediments. Shallow subterranean habitats are ones close to the surface. They include the hypotelminorheic, interstitial, epikarst, MSS, soil, lava tubes, calcrete aquifers, and iron-ore caves. They share an absence of light, close surface connections, relatively high nutrient levels relative to other subterranean habitats, and the presence of species highly modified for subterranean life.

Keywords:   calcrete aquifers, epikarst, hypotelminorheic, interstitial habitats, iron-ore caves, MSS, shallow subterranean habitats, soil, vadose zone

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