The proliferation of lampenflora is a major threat for the conservation of show caves, since phototrophic organisms cause physical, chemical and aesthetic damage to speleothems. In this paper we examine the environmental factors influencing the presence and the growth of the three main photosynthetic groups composing phototrophic biofilms in the Bossea show cave (SW-Italian Alps). The presence and the primary production of cyanobacteria, diatoms and green algae were detected with BenthoTorch®, an instrument for in situ measurement of chlorophyll a concentration that has never been used before in caves. By means of different techniques of regression analysis, we highlighted the response of the three photosynthetic groups to different environmental factors. Illuminance proved to be the main factor influencing positively both the probability of the presence and the productivity of the three groups. The presence of seeping water on the substrate and the distance from the cave entrance proved to play an important role in determining patterns of colonization. By means of GIS techniques, we provide thematic maps of the cave, providing a representation of pattern of the density of the three examined photosynthetic groups within different areas of the cave. The same approach may apply to other show caves, aiming at providing suggestions for the cave management (i.e. cleaning of the cave walls and positioning of artificial lights) and reduce impact caused by tourism.

Environmental drivers of phototrophic biofilms in an Alpine show cave (SW-Italian Alps)

PIANO, ELENA;BONA, Francesca;FALASCO, Elisa;BADINO, Giovanni;ISAIA, MARCO
2015

Abstract

The proliferation of lampenflora is a major threat for the conservation of show caves, since phototrophic organisms cause physical, chemical and aesthetic damage to speleothems. In this paper we examine the environmental factors influencing the presence and the growth of the three main photosynthetic groups composing phototrophic biofilms in the Bossea show cave (SW-Italian Alps). The presence and the primary production of cyanobacteria, diatoms and green algae were detected with BenthoTorch®, an instrument for in situ measurement of chlorophyll a concentration that has never been used before in caves. By means of different techniques of regression analysis, we highlighted the response of the three photosynthetic groups to different environmental factors. Illuminance proved to be the main factor influencing positively both the probability of the presence and the productivity of the three groups. The presence of seeping water on the substrate and the distance from the cave entrance proved to play an important role in determining patterns of colonization. By means of GIS techniques, we provide thematic maps of the cave, providing a representation of pattern of the density of the three examined photosynthetic groups within different areas of the cave. The same approach may apply to other show caves, aiming at providing suggestions for the cave management (i.e. cleaning of the cave walls and positioning of artificial lights) and reduce impact caused by tourism.
536
1007
1018
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969715301492
BenthoTorch®; Cave ecosystem; GLMM; Lampenflora; Primary production
Piano, E.; Bona, F.; Falasco, E.; La Morgia, V.; Badino, G.; Isaia, M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1524979
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