Movile Cave: a chemoautotrophically based groundwater ecosystem


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Publication Date

October 2000


The last 50 years of research on the subterranean biome has revealed considerable taxonomic and ecological diversity as well as unique lineages of organisms - even a new animal class - dependent on a variety of energy sources. During this time biospeleology has developed from a descriptive discipline to encompass the whole field of biological science. The marked change of living conditions in the subterranean realm relative to the surface environment, due to the complete lack of light, provides unique opportunities to test various hypotheses. This book shows for the first time the importance for the biosphere of a previously neglected biota. The types of animals and habitats found in subterranean ecosystems are described together with the geological formations in which they occur and their distribution on earth. The ecology of some subterranean terrestrial and aquatic systems are described together with subterranean ecosystems in different climatic zones. The nature of the adaptations to life in complete darkness, and to the often sparse and patchily distributed foods or various trophic origins, are described. A central part of the volume deals with the characteristics and process involved in the adaptation, speciation and evolution of subterranean animals. The volume concludes with a consideration of the conservation issues arising.


Subterranean, Diversity, Organisms, Terrestrial

Document Type



Subterranean Ecosystems (Ecosystems of the World), Vol. 30 (2000-10-06).