Faunal isotopic implications of the chemo-autotrophic sulfidic ecosystem of Ayyalon Cave

פרופסור עמוס פרומקין, המרכז לחקר מערות (מלח"ם) והמחלקה לגאוגרפיה, האוניברסיטה העברית

A. Frumkin, I. Naaman, Ch. Dimentman, E. Boaretto
1. Israel Cave Research Center, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
2. Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
3. Max Planck Society-Weizmann Institute Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, D-REAMS Radiocarbon Laboratory, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Nine years after the discovery of the chemo-autotrophic sulfidic groundwater site of Ayyalon Cave, its macrofaunal implications can be better understood. It consists of endemic metazoa comprising at least four blind crustaceans, and at least four terrestrial arthropods. We discuss the zoogeographical and speleological implications of the Ayyalon faunal findings. The isotopic evidence shows that the food web of both the aquatic and the terrestrial animals, in this completely dark and secluded environment, is based on sulfide-bacterial chemoautotrophy. The base of the food chain consists of filamentous, Beggiatoa-type Sulfur bacterial mat, together with other types of bacteria and associated protozoans. The present distribution of the subterranean crustaceans is generally considered to be relict, namely partly circum-tropical Tethys ocean, and partly circum-east Mediterranean, which intruded also to the Dead Sea transform aquifers. This indicates a late Miocene age of Ayyalon ecosystem which was probably sealed in the early Pliocene, evolving independently since then

תאריך 27/12/2015 10:30
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