In the period from June 18 to June 22 2018, the 26th International Karstological School “Classic karst” was held, which this year was dedicated to the topic “Show caves and science”. Our colleagues Najla Baković and Jelena Fressl participated at this important regional meeting with an oral lecture titled “Disruption of the Subterranean Ecosystem Continuum Caused by Lampenflora”, presenting a cross-section of potential influence of the presence of lampenflora on the stability of characteristic ecological conditions present in the caves.
The value of the underground karst ecosystems has been recognized at EU level and included as the target habitats of Natura 2000 site, called Caves not open to the public (8310) and Submerged or partially submerged sea caves (8330). However, even some caves that are protected within the Ecological Network of the Republic of Croatia are partially open to the public because of their exceptionally valuable aesthetic features. Preserving the natural stability of a vulnerable subteranean ecosystem, despite the pressures of many visitors and artificial lighting, is therefore a great challenge. Scientific data collected in show caves significantly contributes to our understanding of the functioning of karst subterranean ecosystems that are poorly understood.