Conserving relics from ancient underground worlds: assessing the influence of cave and landscape features on obligate iron cave dwellers from the Eastern Amazon

Autor(es): JAFFÉ, Rodolfo et al
Resumo: The degradation of subterranean habitats is believed to represent a serious threatfor the conservation of obligate subterranean dwellers (troglobites), many of whichare short-range endemics. However, while the factors influencing cave biodiversityremain largely unknown, the influence of the surrounding landscape and patternsof subterranean connectivity of terrestrial troglobitic communities have never beensystematically assessed. Using spatial statistics to analyze the most comprehensivespeleological database yet available for tropical caves, we first assess the influence of ironcave characteristics and the surrounding landscape on troglobitic communities fromthe Eastern Amazon. We then determine the spatial pattern of troglobitic communitycomposition, species richness, phylogenetic diversity, and the occurrence of frequenttroglobitic species, and finally quantify how different landscape features influencethe connectivity between caves. Our results reveal the key importance of habitatamount, guano, water, lithology, geomorphology, and elevation in shaping iron cavetroglobitic communities. While mining within 250mfrom the caves influenced species composition, increasing agricultural land cover within 50 m from the caves reduced species richness and phylogenetic diversity. Troglobitic species composition, speciesrichness, phylogenetic diversity, and the occurrence of frequent troglobites showed spatial autocorrelation for up to 40 km. Finally, our results suggest that the conservation of cave clusters should be prioritized, as geographic distance was the main factordetermining connectivity between troglobitic communities. Overall, our work sheds important light onto one of the most overlooked terrestrial ecosystems, and highlights the need to shift conservation efforts from individual caves to subterranean habitats as a whole.
Periódico: PeerJ
Ano: 2018
Páginas: 23 p.
Ano de publicação: 2018
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