Shallow Subterranean Habitats: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation


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Publication Date

January 2014


What do wet spots in the woods, talus slopes in mountains, and cracks in the ceiling of caves have in common? They call into question the prevailing view that subterranean habitats are extreme environments with no light, no daily or annual cycle, and scant food. Different shallow subterranean habitats (SSHs) have little in common with caves except for the absence of light (‘aphotic environments’) and a specialized fauna with a typical ‘cave’ morphology (‘troglomorphy’). Fascinating habitats in their own right, they also hold the key to understanding adaptation to subterranean environments in general. Our task is to persuade the reader that these habitats are not only interesting and important, but that they are bound together by the shared characteristics of the habitats and their faunas, both troglobionts and stygobionts. The book, designed for graduate students and researchers in the field, will provide an extensive description of the habitats, their fauna, and the ecological and evolutionary questions posed.


Aphotic Environments, Stygobionts, Subterranean Habitats, Troglobionts, Troglomorphy

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