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01.04.2015 | Review Paper | Ausgabe 4/2015

Biodiversity and Conservation 4/2015

Cyanobacteria in ambient springs

Zeitschrift:
Biodiversity and Conservation > Ausgabe 4/2015
Autoren:
Marco Cantonati, Jiří Komárek, Gustavo Montejano
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Anurag Chaurasia.

Abstract

Although neglected for a long time by freshwater-ecology research, springs are very important habitats for biodiversity conservation. They are multiple ecotones, and are characterized by a remarkable variety of environmental conditions (e.g., from highly-shaded to UV exposed, from permanent discharge to intermittent flow, from still water to strong currents, from extremely-soft to carbonate-precipitating water, etc.). Moreover, springs are often amongst the last high-integrity, oligotrophic freshwater habitats in densely populated areas. Because of the high quality of their waters, the main impact affecting springs is capturing and water diversion. Climate-change driven reduction in precipitations in many areas is likely to determine an aggravation of this impact. It is thus important to document the rich and peculiar biodiversity of springs, also to establish reference conditions for bioassessment methods. Especially in non-acidic springs with running water, and coarse lithic substrata, cyanobacteria are often one of the most taxa-rich and abundant groups of photoautotrophs. The relatively-scarce information available in the literature is mostly referred to similar habitats, and not to spring habitats in the narrower sense. Papers dealing with the cyanobacteria of ambient springheads (=eucrenal) worldwide are still very rare. These were reviewed separating ambient springs in temperate and warm climate, and with special attention to key species, to cyanobacterial strategies allowing survival in oligotrophic headwaters (e.g., nitrogen fixation, phosphatases, anti-UV compounds, etc.), and to distribution patterns. The review also hopes to bolster new interest and research on this topic, and suggests some promising research directions.

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