Lai, Giuseppina Grazia (2019) Ecological surveys for the valorization of spring environments of Sardinia: implications for their fruition and environmental protection. Doctoral Thesis.
Springs are ecosystems with unique features and great ecological value. In the Mediterranean area they are more exposed to the risks of alteration of their structure and natural functioning because of direct and indirect human pressures and climate change. Despite this, springs remain poorly studied and specific approaches of management and protection are still missing. The main purpose of this PhD was to acquire knowledge on ecology of karst and thermo-mineral springs of Sardinia, traditionally neglected. The research activities focused on diatom microflora from different substrates in 17 springs of the Island. The results indicated a high diatom biodiversity, also highlighted by the presence of Sellaphora gologonica sp. nov. and Chamaepinnularia thermophila, the latter observed only in very few sites in the world so far. The analysis of the relationships between species and environmental variables, confirmed that diatoms can reflect the effects of important factors related to the vulnerability of these ecosystems, such as hydrological stability (flow permanence), discharge, climate change (extreme flash floods) and nutrient enrichment. This thesis offer food for thought on the importance of enhancing and preserving these environments so important from an ecological point of view and of so large interests for human uses. The information collected may represent a starting point for the development of strategies aimed at their proper management.
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