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      An ecological survey of the invertebrate community at the epigean/hypogean interface

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      Subterranean Biology

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          We studied the ecological continuum between caves and the associated network of fissures – Milieu Souterrain Superficiel (MSS) – in an hypogean site in the Graian Alps, Italy. Over one year, we surveyed the faunal assemblages by means of pitfall traps placed in the caves and specific subterranean sampling devices (SSD) buried in the MSS. We used generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) and generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs) to compare the spatial and temporal dynamics of the subterranean invertebrates inhabiting the two environments. As expected, arthropod communities occurring near the surface were characterized by minor level of subterranean adaptations, and conversely, subterranean species were more abundant and diversified at higher depths, both in the caves and in the MSS. Diversity and abundance of external elements in the superficial layers were found to be highly seasonal dependent, with minor values in winter compared to the other seasons. We provided information about the faunal assemblages dwelling in the two hypogean compartments, and we characterized the microclimatic conditions therein. We discussed the existence of an ecological gradient of specialization extending from the surface to the deep hypogean layers, which can be interpreted in light of the microclimatic changes occurring at increasing depths and the parallel decrease in available organic matter.

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          Most cited references 38

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          A protocol for conducting and presenting results of regression-type analyses

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            Can we agree on an ecological classification of subterranean animals?

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              The dark side of an island radiation: systematics and evolution of troglobitic spiders of the genusDysderaLatreille (Araneae : Dysderidae) in the Canary Islands

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Subterranean Biology
                SB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2615
                1768-1448
                December 11 2017
                December 11 2017
                : 24
                : 27-52
                Article
                10.3897/subtbiol.24.21585
                © 2017

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