The Biology of Caves and Other Subterranean Habitats

Paperback | February 28, 2009

byDavid C. Culver, Tanja Pipan

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Caves and other subterranean habitats with their often strange (even bizarre) inhabitants have long been objects of fascination, curiosity, and debate. The question of how such organisms have evolved, and the relative roles of natural selection and genetic drift, has engaged subterraneanbiologists for decades. Indeed, these studies continue to inform the more general question of adaptation and evolution. However, interest in subterranean biology is not limited to questions of evolutionary biology. Both the distribution and the apparent ancient age of many subterranean speciescontinue to be of significant interest to biogeographers. Subterranean ecosystems generally exhibit little or no primary productivity and, as "extreme" ecosystems, provide general insights into ecosystem function. Furthermore, the simplicity of subterranean communities relative to mostsurface-dwelling communities makes them useful model systems for the study of species interactions such as competition and predation, as well as more general principles of ecosystem function. The rarity of many cave species makes them of special interest in conservation biology.iThe Biology of Caves and other Subterranean Habitats/i offers a concise but comprehensive introduction to cave ecology. Whilst there is an emphasis on the organisms that dominate this unique environment, conservation and management aspects are also considered. The book includes a global range ofexamples and case studies from both caves and non-cave subterranean habitats; it also provides a clear explanation of specialized terms used by speleologists. This accessible text will appeal to researchers new to the field and to the many professional ecologists and conservation practitionersrequiring a concise but authoritative overview. Its engaging style will also make it suitable for senior undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in cave and subterranean biology.

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Caves and other subterranean habitats with their often strange (even bizarre) inhabitants have long been objects of fascination, curiosity, and debate. The question of how such organisms have evolved, and the relative roles of natural selection and genetic drift, has engaged subterraneanbiologists for decades. Indeed, these studies con...

David C. Culver received his Ph.D. in 1970 in Biology from Yale University. He is currently Professor of Biology and Associate Dean for Science at American University in Washington, DC, with broad research interests in subterranean biology, especially biodiversity, biogeography, and ecosystem function. Culver is Treasurer of the Karst...

other books by David C. Culver

Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:February 28, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199219931

ISBN - 13:9780199219933

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Table of Contents

Preface1. The Subterranean Domain2. Sources of Energy in Subterranean Environments3. Survey of Subterranean Life4. Ecosystem Function5. Biotic Interactions and Community Structure6. Adaptations to Subterranean Life7. Colonization and Speciation in Subterranean Environments8. Geography of Subterranean Biodiversity9. Some Representative Subterranean Communities10. Conservation and Protection of Subterranean HabitatsReferencesGlossary