Habitats in caves are much more diverse than previously thought, and one of the authors of the article is our Najla Baković!
An article entitled Transitional and small aquatic cave habitats diversification based on protist assemblages in the Veternica cave (Medvednica Mt., Croatia) was published in the international scientific journal Subterranean Biology, which publishes research on all aspects of underground ecosystems. The authors of the article are Najla Baković, Renata Matoničkin Kepčija and Ferry J. Siemensma. The aim of the research was to collect data on the biodiversity and abundance of protists in different cave habitats and to analyze which environmental factors determine their spatio-temporal dynamics. The research was made in the Veternica Cave (near Zagreb), which is located within the Medvednica Nature Park, and was singled out as the target habitat type 8310 Caves and pits closed for the public ecological network. Veternica is protected as a geomorphological monument of nature and is the tenth longest cave in the Republic of Croatia.
The article presents the results of research on hygropetrics and small aquatic cave habitats. During the six-month research, as many as 47 prototype taxa were recorded. Statistical analysis, based on the spatio-temporal dynamics of protists, showed that small aquatic and transitional habitats in the Veternica cave are much more diverse than previously thought. In addition to cave protists, the article brought new data on cave animals occurring in studied habitats such as Nematode, Copepoda, Platodes, Rotifera, Hydrachnidia, Coleoptera, and Oligochaeta. The article also pointed out the great importance of bat guano as a modifier of habitat conditions in caves, which is also extremely important for the energy of underground ecosystems. Research in the Veternica cave has contributed valuable information on protists, which are an important component of subterranean food webs.
Congratulations to our colleague Najla Baković and other authors of the article!
You can access the article here!