Caves and hypogean environments host various phototrophic microorganisms, with Cyanobacteria constituting the major group. The spatial and temporal distribution of Cyanobacteria (156 taxa in total) from three Greek caves, located in the limestone arc of Peloponnese and differing in morphology, was studied. The community patterns in different ecological niches were analyzed in relation to environmental parameters (Photosynthetically Active Radiation, Temperature, and Relative Humidity). Cyanobacterial communities were found to thrive in patchy biofilms and showed known protective strategies against desiccation and irradiation. The nMDS analysis of the cumulative seasonal samples per sampling site showed no general pattern of distribution, with a clear differentiation of cyanobacterial communities among the three caves. Only in the typical cave ‘Kastria’, cyanobacterial taxa showed growth habits in accordance with the gradient of light from entrance inwards.



Table 1.xlsx (56 kB)
Table 1. Taxa of Cyanobacteria identified from the caves ‘Kastria’, ‘Selinitsa’, ‘Francthi’ at each sampling site (1-7), seasonally. (W = Winter, P = Spring, S = Summer, A = Autumn.)