Terrestrial subterranean diversity in non-karstic Archaean rock terrains

Citation
Terrestrial subterranean diversity in non-karstic Archaean rock terrains

Material Information

Title:
Terrestrial subterranean diversity in non-karstic Archaean rock terrains
Series Title:
Subterranean Ecology
Alternate Title:
Terrestrial subterranean diversity in non-karstic Archaean rock terrains: another Aladdin's Cave opening in the Pilbara region of Western Australia
Creator:
Bell, Peter
Eberhard, Stefan
Mould, T.
Muirhead, Katherine
Stevens, N.
Publisher:
Subterranean Ecology, Scientific Environmental Services
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Biology ( local )
Cave Ecology ( local )
Genre:
Abstracts
serial ( sobekcm )
Location:
Australia

Notes

General Note:
Until recently most terrestrial troglobites in Australia were known only from large (macro-) caves developed, predominantly, in karstified carbonate rocks, and less commonly from lava tubes developed in basalt. Excepting a few isolated earlier reports, and despite the accumulated evidence from other countries, there had been little searching for troglofauna in smaller (meso-) cave habitats developed in non-karstic rock terrains. This situation changed abruptly a few years ago when diverse communities of short range endemic terrestrial troglobites were discovered during routine stygofauna sampling in Tertiary channel iron deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. This discovery (described elsewhere this symposium), triggered a spate of troglofauna surveys instigated for pre-mining environmental impact assessment. Here we report the discovery of diverse assemblages of terrestrial troglomorphic fauna occurring in Archaean ore-bearing rocks in the north and central Pilbara. The higher level systematic composition of the troglomorphic assemblages in the Pilbara includes arachnids (Araneae, Pseudoscorpionida, Schizomida, Palpigrada), insects (Diplura, Thysanura, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Blattodea), myriapods (diplopoda, chilopoda) and isopods. The richness of troglomorphic species recorded at some localities (12 to 26 species) is comparable to, or exceeds, that recorded from the most intensively surveyed karst localities and lava caves in Australia. In the Archaean ore-bearing rocks, secondary porosity is developed by tectonic, mineralisation and/or weathering processes, and provides prospective habitat for troglofauna. Examination of diamond drill cores shows air-filled fractures and meso-caverns extending many metres below ground level, while regolith and colluvium may provide additional shallow subsurface habitats analogous to the milleu souterrain superficial that harbours diverse troglofaunas outside Australia. The limited sampling at just a few localities to date has confirmed that the arid Pilbara region harbours a significant diversity of troglofauna, and like stygofauna, this poses research and conservation challenges in the face of increasing demand for mine developments. -- Authors
Restriction:
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-04339 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4339 ( USFLDC Handle )
9191 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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Description
Until recently most
terrestrial troglobites in Australia were known only from large
(macro-) caves developed, predominantly, in karstified
carbonate rocks, and less commonly from lava tubes developed in
basalt. Excepting a few isolated earlier reports, and despite
the accumulated evidence from other countries, there had been
little searching for troglofauna in smaller (meso-) cave
habitats developed in non-karstic rock terrains. This situation
changed abruptly a few years ago when diverse communities of
short range endemic terrestrial troglobites were discovered
during routine stygofauna sampling in Tertiary channel iron
deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. This
discovery (described elsewhere this symposium), triggered a
spate of troglofauna surveys instigated for pre-mining
environmental impact assessment. Here we report the discovery
of diverse assemblages of terrestrial troglomorphic fauna
occurring in Archaean ore-bearing rocks in the north and
central Pilbara. The higher level systematic composition of the
troglomorphic assemblages in the Pilbara includes arachnids
(Araneae, Pseudoscorpionida, Schizomida, Palpigrada), insects
(Diplura, Thysanura, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Blattodea),
myriapods (diplopoda, chilopoda) and isopods. The richness of
troglomorphic species recorded at some localities (12 to 26
species) is comparable to, or exceeds, that recorded from the
most intensively surveyed karst localities and lava caves in
Australia. In the Archaean ore-bearing rocks, secondary
porosity is developed by tectonic, mineralisation and/or
weathering processes, and provides prospective habitat for
troglofauna. Examination of diamond drill cores shows
air-filled fractures and meso-caverns extending many metres
below ground level, while regolith and colluvium may provide
additional shallow subsurface habitats analogous to the milleu
souterrain superficial that harbours diverse troglofaunas
outside Australia. The limited sampling at just a few
localities to date has confirmed that the arid Pilbara region
harbours a significant diversity of troglofauna, and like
stygofauna, this poses research and conservation challenges in
the face of increasing demand for mine developments. --
Authors



PAGE 1

Abstract of paper presented at the 19th International Symposium of Subterranean Biology 2008 Fremantle, Western Australia 21-26th September 2008. Terrestrial subterranean diversity in nonkarstic Archaean rock terrains: another AladdinÂ’s Cave opening in the Pilbara region of Western Australia Stefan Eberhard, Peter Bell, Timothy Moul ds, Nicholas Stevens & Katherine Muirhead Subterranean Ecology, Scientific Environmental Se rvices, PO Box 280, North Beach, Western Australia 6920, Australia ( info@subterraneanecology.com.au). Until recently most terrestrial troglobites in Australia were known only from large (macro-) caves developed, predominantly, in karstified carbonate rocks, and less commonly from lava tubes developed in basalt. Excepting a few isolated earlier reports, and despite the accumulated evidence from other countries, there had been little searching for troglofauna in smaller (meso-) cave habitats developed in nonkarstic rock terrains. This situation changed abruptly a few years ago when diverse communities of short range endemic terrestrial troglobites were discovered during routine st ygofauna sampling in Tertiary channel iron deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Austra lia. This discovery (described elsewhere this symposium), triggered a spate of troglofauna surveys instigated for pre-mining environmental impact assessment. Here we report the discovery of diverse assemblages of terrestrial troglomorphic fauna occurring in Archaean ore-be aring rocks in the north and central Pilbara. The higher level systematic composition of the troglomorphic assemblages in the Pilbara includes arachnids (Araneae, Pseudoscorpionida, Schizomida, Palpigrada), insects (Diplura, Thysanura, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Blattodea), myriapods (diplopoda, chilopoda) and isopods. The richness of troglomorphic species recorded at some localities (12 to 26 species) is comparable to, or exceeds, that recorded from the most intensively surveyed karst localities and lava caves in Australia. In the Archaean ore-bearing rocks, secondary porosity is developed by tectonic, mineralisation and/or weathering processes, and provides prospective habitat for troglofauna. Examination of diamond drill core s shows air-filled fractures and meso-caverns extending many metres below ground level, while regolith and colluvium may provide additional shallow subsurface habitats analogous to the milleu souterrain superficial that harbours diverse troglofaunas outside Australia. Th e limited sampling at just a few localities to date has confirmed that the arid Pilbara region harbours a significant diversity of troglofauna, and like stygofauna, this poses research and conservation challenges in the face of increasing demand for mine developments.


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