Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Best Bet For Saving Cave Species

Date:
April 18, 2000
Source:
Society For Conservation Biology
Summary:
The U.S. has the most cave-dwelling species worldwide and 95% are imperiled. But protecting cave species should be relatively easy because they are concentrated in less than 2% of the continental U.S., according to new research presented in the April issue of Conservation Biology.

The U.S. has the most cave-dwelling species worldwide and 95% are imperiled. But protecting cave species should be relatively easy because they are concentrated in less than 2% of the continental U.S., according to new research presented in the April issue of Conservation Biology.

The nearly 1,000 species known to live in caves in the continental U.S. were mapped David Culver of the Department of Biology at American University in Washington DC and his colleagues. Crustaceans, insects and arachnids comprise the majority of cave species and most are eyeless, unpigmented and delicate-looking. These characteristics led people in the 17th century to think that the white salamanders that washed out of caves in eastern Europe were dragon larvae.

The several thousand caves in the continental U.S. are concentrated in the 20% that is covered by limestone. Culver and his colleagues found that cave species are concentrated even further: more than 60% are found only in caves in a single county or even in a single cave. Hotspots of diversity include northeast Alabama for terrestrial cave species and the Edwards Plateau of Texas for aquatic cave species.

While the fact that cave species are concentrated in hotspots will help make it easier to save them, protecting the caves themselves is not enough. We must also protect the land above the caves, say Culver and his colleagues.

Nearly all cave species are vulnerable to disruptions of the vegetation and drainage basins of the overlying surface. For example, deforestation around caves can decrease bat and rat populations, thus reducing the dung that many cave species depend on. Dung-dwellers account for an estimated 40% of the U.S. species that live only in caves.

In addition, water-borne contaminants can persist for months in cave ecosystems. Cave streams in West Virginia's agricultural areas have elevated levels of nitrates and pesticides. Other sources of subterranean water contamination include accidental spills, gasoline storage tank leaks and illegal dumping into sinkholes.

Culver's co-authors are: Lawrence Master of The Nature Conservancy in Boston, Massachusetts; Mary Christman of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at American University in Washington DC; and Horton Hobbs of the Department of Biology at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

###

WEBSITES WITH RELATED INFORMATION INCLUDE:

Biospeleology http://www.utexas.edu/depts/tnhc/.www/biospeleology

Karst Waters Institutehttp://www.karstwaters.org/karstsources.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society For Conservation Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society For Conservation Biology. "Best Bet For Saving Cave Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000417094807.htm>.
Society For Conservation Biology. (2000, April 18). Best Bet For Saving Cave Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000417094807.htm
Society For Conservation Biology. "Best Bet For Saving Cave Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000417094807.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins