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Subterranean Fauna of the Lukina Jama–Trojama Cave System in Croatia: The Deepest Cave in the Dinaric Karst

Lukić, Marko; Fišer, Cene; Delić, Teo; Bilandžija, Helena; Pavlek, Martina; Komerički, Ana; Dražina, Tvrtko; Jalžić, Branko; Ozimec, Roman; Slapnik, Rajko; Bedek, Jana (2023) Subterranean Fauna of the Lukina Jama–Trojama Cave System in Croatia: The Deepest Cave in the Dinaric Karst. Diversity, 15 (6). ISSN 1424-2818

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The Dinaric Karst is a global hotspot for subterranean diversity, with two distinct peaks of species richness in the northwest and southeast, and an area of a lower species richness in the central part. In this article, we present a species list and describe the ecological conditions of the Lukina jama–Trojama cave system, located in the central part of the Dinaric Karst. This cave system is the deepest and one of the most logistically challenging cave systems sampled so far in the Dinaric Karst. Repeated sampling resulted in a list of 45 species, including 25 troglobionts, 3 troglophiles, 16 stygobionts, and 1 stygophile. Most of the recorded species are endemic to the Velebit Mountain, while three species are endemic to the Lukina jama–Trojama cave system. Within the system, species richness peaks in the deepest third of the cave, most likely reflecting the harsh ecological conditions in the upper parts, including ice, cold winds, and occasional waterfalls. Milder and more stable deeper parts of the cave contain a rich subterranean species community, part of which is associated with two very distinct aquatic habitats, the cave hygropetric and the phreatic zone. The newly recognized hotspot of subterranean biodiversity in the central Dinaric Karst, which has emerged between the two known centers of biodiversity, further highlights the species richness in large cave systems, but also challenges the diversity patterns in the Dinaric Karst overall.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Velebit Mt. ; biospeleology ; biodiversity ; checklist ; cave hygropetric ; obligate cave species ; troglobionts ; stygobionts
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
Divisions: Division of Molecular Biology
Depositing User: Martina Pavlek
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2023 12:10
DOI: 10.3390/d15060726

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