Epikarst – A Promising habitat


Tanja Pipan


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date

January 2005


The monograph Epicarst - a promising habitat (Epikras - promising habitat) is the result of many years of systematic study of the subterranean fauna of the Dinaric Karst. It presents an overview of the sampling of the Epicarus fauna and, until recently, an almost completely unknown segment of life in the Karst underground, the Epicarus fauna. The epicarse, which is the closest layer to the surface in the hydrogeological division of the karst subsoil, is inaccessible by standard research methods. Various microhabitats are present in the epicrass layer, which conditions the great diversity of fauna. Among the most successful inhabitants of the epicras are small crustaceans, many of which are endemic and species that specialize in groundwater and are not found in other habitats. The book brings a new look at the biodiversity of karst groundwater and reveals the barely known dimension of stigma fauna diversity. Given that most cephalopods enter caves from the Epikarst zone, the working hypothesis mainly expresses expectations about a new discovery, including undescribed species. The paper outlines the standard sampling methods used, as well as special trapping devices adapted to collect fauna from jets. A selection of measurements of physicochemical parameters (flow, pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, ionic composition) of epikarst water is given. Statistical faunal and ecological data of copepods in different habitats (presence, abundance, diversity, similarity of communities) are verified by statistical methods and ecological indices. The analysis of the interdependence of individual species and ecological parameters revealed large interspecific differences and thus a high degree of ecological differentiation of copepods from the Epikarst area. The basic habitat types in which individual species of cephalopods live or are occasionally present in caves are presented, and the interdependence of the cephalopod fauna with habitat types is analyzed. The share of newly discovered species of cephalopods in our cave


Epicarse, Caves, Karst Subsoil

Document Type



Carsologica, Vol. 5 (2005-01-01).