Cave Ecology pp 415-434 | Cite as

Research in Calcretes and Other Deep Subterranean Habitats Outside Caves

  • Stuart HalseEmail author
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 235)


The outstanding difference between traditional subterranean fauna studies and those carried out recently in Australia is the Australian emphasis on the fauna that occurs deep underground, but outside caves, across large parts of the landscape. This work has shown that the Australian arid zone, particularly in the western half of the continent, is rich in subterranean fauna, with the geologies supporting most species being calcrete and alluvium in the case of stygofauna and iron-rich rocks in the case of troglofauna. It is likely that, altogether, as many as 4500 species of stygofauna and troglofauna occur in the two most species-rich regions of Western Australia — the Pilbara and Yilgarn. Striking characteristics of the stygofauna communities in these regions include little overlap in species composition of communities of the hyporheic zone and deeper groundwater, very high levels of endemism in individual calcrete bodies, and the existence of extensive radiations of candonid ostracods in the Pilbara and copepods in calcretes of the Yilgarn. Characteristics of the troglofauna communities include extremely small ranges of many species, with linear ranges of 1–2 km apparently being common, and extensive radiation of schizomids and some other invertebrate groups in iron formations of the Pilbara.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bennelongia Environmental ConsultantsJolimontAustralia

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