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      Cave morphology, microclimate and abundance of five cave predators from the Monte Albo (Sardinia, Italy)

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          Systematic data collection on species and their exploited environments is of key importance for conservation studies. Within the less-known environments, the subterranean ones are neither easy to be studied, nor to be explored. Subterranean environments house a wide number of specialised organisms, many of which show high sensitivity to habitat alteration. Despite the undeniable importance to monitor the status of the subterranean biodiversity, standardised methodologies to record biotic and abiotic data in these environments are still not fully adopted, impeding therefore the creation of comparable datasets useful for monitoring the ecological condition in the subterranean environments and for conservation assessment of related species.

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          In this work we describe a methodology allowing the collection of standardised abiotic and biotic data in subterranean environments. To show this, we created a large dataset including information on environmental features (morphology and microclimate) and abundance of five predators (one salamander, three spiders and one snail) occurring in seven caves of the Monte Albo (Sardinia, Italy), an important biodiversity hotspot. We performed 77 surveys on 5,748 m 2 of subterranean environments througout a year, recording 1,695 observations of the five cave predators. The fine-scale data collection adopted in our methodology allowed us to record detailed information related to both morphology and microclimate of the cave inner environment. Furthermore, this method allows us to account for species-imperfect detection when recording presence/abundance data.

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          Most cited references 55

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          Living in the branches: population dynamics and ecological processes in dendritic networks.

          Spatial structure regulates and modifies processes at several levels of ecological organization (e.g. individual/genetic, population and community) and is thus a key component of complex systems, where knowledge at a small scale can be insufficient for understanding system behaviour at a larger scale. Recent syntheses outline potential applications of network theory to ecological systems, but do not address the implications of physical structure for network dynamics. There is a specific need to examine how dendritic habitat structure, such as that found in stream, hedgerow and cave networks, influences ecological processes. Although dendritic networks are one type of ecological network, they are distinguished by two fundamental characteristics: (1) both the branches and the nodes serve as habitat, and (2) the specific spatial arrangement and hierarchical organization of these elements interacts with a species' movement behaviour to alter patterns of population distribution and abundance, and community interactions. Here, we summarize existing theory relating to ecological dynamics in dendritic networks, review empirical studies examining the population- and community-level consequences of these networks, and suggest future research integrating spatial pattern and processes in dendritic systems.
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            Insect overwintering in a changing climate.

            Insects are highly successful animals inhabiting marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats from the equator to the poles. As a group, insects have limited ability to regulate their body temperature and have thus required a range of strategies to support life in thermally stressful environments, including behavioural avoidance through migration and seasonal changes in cold tolerance. With respect to overwintering strategies, insects have traditionally been divided into two main groups: freeze tolerant and freeze avoiding, although this simple classification is underpinned by a complex of interacting processes, i.e. synthesis of ice nucleating agents, cryoprotectants, antifreeze proteins and changes in membrane lipid composition. Also, in temperate and colder climates, the overwintering ability of many species is closely linked to the diapause state, which often increases cold tolerance ahead of temperature-induced seasonal acclimatisation. Importantly, even though most species can invoke one or both of these responses, the majority of insects die from the effects of cold rather than freezing. Most studies on the effects of a changing climate on insects have focused on processes that occur predominantly in summer (development, reproduction) and on changes in distributions rather than winter survival per se. For species that routinely experience cold stress, a general hypothesis would be that predicted temperature increases of 1 degree C to 5 degrees C over the next 50-100 years would increase winter survival in some climatic zones. However, this is unlikely to be a universal effect. Negative impacts may occur if climate warming leads to a reduction or loss of winter snow cover in polar and sub-polar areas, resulting in exposure to more severe air temperatures, increasing frequency of freeze-thaw cycles and risks of ice encasement. Likewise, whilst the dominant diapause-inducing cue (photoperiod) will be unaffected by global climate change, higher temperatures may modify normal rates of development, leading to a decoupling of synchrony between diapause-sensitive life-cycle stages and critical photoperiods for diapause induction. In terms of climate warming and potential heat stress, the most recent predictions of summer temperatures in Europe of 40 degrees C or higher in 50-75 years, are close to the current upper lethal limit of some insects. Long-term data sets on insect distributions and the timing of annual migrations provide strong evidence for 'positive' responses to higher winter temperatures over timescales of the past 20-50 years in North America, Europe and Asia.
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              Can we agree on an ecological classification of subterranean animals?

               Boris Sket (2008)

                Author and article information

                Biodivers Data J
                Biodivers Data J
                Biodiversity Data Journal
                Pensoft Publishers
                03 February 2020
                : 8
                [1 ] Key Laboratory of the Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China Key Laboratory of the Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing China
                [2 ] Museo di Storia Naturale dell'Università degli Studi di Firenze, "La Specola", Firenze, Italy Museo di Storia Naturale dell'Università degli Studi di Firenze, "La Specola" Firenze Italy
                [3 ] Universität Trier Fachbereich VI Raum-und Umweltwissenschaften Biogeographie, Trier, Germany Universität Trier Fachbereich VI Raum-und Umweltwissenschaften Biogeographie Trier Germany
                [4 ] CEAS Santa Lucia, Siniscola, Italy CEAS Santa Lucia Siniscola Italy
                [5 ] Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Università degli Studi di Milano Milano Italy
                [6 ] Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS,, Grenoble, France Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble France
                [7 ] LECA, Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, Grenoble, France LECA, Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine Grenoble France
                [8 ] Université Savoie Mont Blanc, Annecy, France Université Savoie Mont Blanc Annecy France
                Author notes
                Corresponding authors: Enrico Lunghi ( enrico.arti@ 123456gmail.com ), Yahui Zhao ( zhaoyh@ 123456ioz.ac.cn ).

                Academic editor: Pedro Cardoso

                48623 12986
                Enrico Lunghi, Claudia Corti, Manuela Mulargia, Yahui Zhao, Raoul Manenti, Gentile Francesco Ficetola, Michael Veith

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 0, References: 62
                Data Paper (Biosciences)
                Biodiversity & Conservation
                Ecology & Environmental sciences


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