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Shallow Subterranean HabitatsEcology, Evolution, and Conservation$
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David C. Culver and Tanja Pipan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646173

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646173.001.0001

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The shallow subterranean domain

The shallow subterranean domain

Chapter 1 The shallow subterranean domain
Shallow Subterranean Habitats

David C. Culver

Tanja Pipan

Oxford University Press

The idea that there are many subterranean habitats close to the surface that are little known and do not fit comfortably into any habitat classification scheme is introduced. Four of these shallow subterranean habitats (SSHs) are unique (strict sense shallow subterranean habitats)—hypotelminorheic and seepage springs, milieu souterrain superficiel (including talus and scree), epikarst, and calcrete aquifers—and have intermediate sized habitat spaces, no light, and close connections to the surface. Broad sense shallow subterranean habitats include habitats with large (lava tubes) or small (aquatic interstitial and soil) spaces. SSHs are generally broadly but patchily distributed across the landscape although some have restricted physical requirements, such as the presence of a shallow clay layer for hypotelminorheic habitats. Close surface connections have impacts on environmental conditions, nutrient fluxes, and movement of animals through SSHs. While SSHs can be ecotones, they are habitats in their own right, and not necessarily connected with deeper subterranean habitats. They are of general biological interest because of the presence of eyeless, depigmented species, their possible role as stepping stones to adaptation to deeper subterranean environments, their geographic pattern, and conservation issues raised by them. Brief examples of each type of SSH are discussed.

Keywords:   Aquatic interstitial, calcrete aquifers, ecotones, epikarst, hyporheic, hypotelminorheic, lava tubes, milieu souterrain superficiel (MSS), soil, subterranean habitats

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