Lampenflora Algae and Methods of Growth Control


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Publication Date

August 2009


Karst caves are unique natural features and habitats where specialized organisms live. Some caves are also important as cultural heritage sites. In recent decades, many caves have experienced intensified tourist visits. To attract visitors, artificial illumination was installed that changed conditions in the caves. As a result,communities of organisms called lampenflora develop in close and remote proximity to lights. These phototrophic organisms are inappropriate from an aesthetic point of view and cause the degradation of colonized substrata, which is a particular problem in caves with prehistoric art. Key factors that allow lampenflora to grow are light and moisture. Illuminated spots in caves can be quickly colonized by algae, some of which have broad tolerances for different substrata. Several phototrophs can survive in caves even at photon flux densities lower than the photosynthetic compensation point. In this paper, the pros and cons of physical, chemical, and biological methods to control phototrophic growth are reviewed and discussed. Experiences in show caves can be helpful in controlling undesirable algal growth in other environments.


Karst Cave, Phototrophic Organisms, Algae

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Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, Vol. 71, no. 2 (2009-08-01).