Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Cave Organisms

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_253

Cave organisms are organisms that grow and thrive in a cave environment without light or in weak light, accompanied by constant temperature and dampness. According to the four-level classification of organisms, cave organisms can be classified into prokaryotic organisms, fungi, low plants and animals. Prokaryotic organisms include cyanobacteria and bacteria. Cyanobacteria are mostly located at the cave mouth or areas with weak light. Bacteria can be divided into autotrophic and heterotrophic types. In the deeper parts of the cave, the organisms are mainly chemoautotrophic bacteria and heterotrophic bacteria, whereas the organisms in the areas where light can reach are mainly photoautotrophic bacteria. Fungi and heterotrophic bacteria mainly feed on decomposed animal remains and waste. Lower plants in caves, such as ferns, mosses, lichens and algae, are mainly located at the cave mouth and areas of weak light. In caves open to tourists, some plants grow in the deep areas and grow in...

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