Life in caves: records of the past, and strategic resources for science and for the future of humanity
Ana Sofia Reboleira (TMB – cE3c; FCUL)
Numerous species live deep in the underground and how they are affected by human activities remains poorly studied. Subterranean species are among the most unknown and unprotected natural resources of our planet.
Cave-adapted species have morphophysiological adaptations to life in the underground, and short-range distributions. This biota plays a key role in regulating the whole suite of ecosystem functions directly related to groundwater dependent ecosystems, as springs and rivers. However, legal initiatives address only the need to achieve a good physicochemical status of groundwater, neglecting its endemic biodiversity.
Our research aims to understand the ecological functioning of subterranean ecosystems and how they are impacted by anthropogenic activities. We use an array of multidisciplinary approaches to generate a framework for future ecological assessment and sustainability of subterranean biodiversity. Our results show that subterranean species respond differently than surface species to stressors, which has profound consequences in ecosystems management and conservation. We will present an overview about life in subterranean ecosystems, their ecological features, how we study them and how they are endangered by anthropogenic stressors.
Thursday, December 17, 2020, at 12h00-13h00 (Lisbon, Portugal time)
ONLINE, on our YouTube channel, here: https://youtu.be/l7oUQAZLJeY