Cadeddu, Barbara (2012) Biodiversity assessment in Mediterranean caves: the case of Porifera as model taxon. Doctoral Thesis.
The status of marine caves as cryptic, fragmented and vulnerable biotopes require appropriate conservation measures and protection planning. These biotopes represent one of the most important natural heritages in the Mediterranean and recently they have been indeed inserted in the EU Habitat Directive. These extreme environments are colonized by peculiar faunas composed of species able to tolerate to survive these conditions and characterized by selected adaptive strategies. In addition, the caves, as the islands are isolated and discontinuous habitats that limit or gene flow between populations, making the cave faunas of ideal subjects for speciation analysis. The aim of present tesis is was to contribute to increase the knowledge, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources represented by the cave fauna of Sardinia, Sicily and the Mediterranean Sea with particular regard to the Porifera. The collaboration with other research groups allowed to increase the expertise also on other cave-dwelling model taxa rich in endemic species such as the freshwater planarians (Tricladida, Turbellaria), and the Sardinian endemic Speomolops sardous (Coleoptera Carabidae).
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