Epilithic algae from caves of the Krakowsko-Częstochowska Upland (Southern Poland)

Joanna Czerwik-Marcinkowska, Teresa Mrozińska

Abstract


This paper describes the first study of algae assemblages in 20 caves in the Krakowsko-Częstochowska Upland (Southern Poland), in the period between 2005-2006. The investigations showed mostly on epilithic algae and their subaeric habitats (rock faces within caves and walls at cave entrances). The morphological and cytological variability of algae were studied in fresh samples, in cultures grown on agar plates and in SPURR preparations. A total of 43 algae species was identified, mostly epilithic species and tolerant of low light intensities. The largest group was formed by representatives of the division Chlorophyta (24 species), and then the division Chrysophyta (Heterokontophyta) - 17 species, with 9 species belonging to the class Bacillariophyceae, 7 species - Xanthophyceae and 1 species representing the class Eustigmatophyceae. Dinophyta (2 species) constituted the last and the smallest group. Among the collected algae, the following species deserve special attention: Thelesphaera alpina, Bracteacoccus minor, Trachychloron simplex, Tetracystis intermedia and T. cf. isobilateralis. The last species was not earlier found in Europe. Identification of species was greatly aided by examination of cell ultrastructure, which provided an array of further features, increasing chances of correct species identification. Furthermore, the studies focused that algae, although usually remaining under dominance of cyanobacteria, excellently differentiate this special area and even enrich it.

Keywords


epilithic algae; cave; ultrastructure; Krakowsko-Częstochowska Upland

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