This week Ireland’s Classic Hits Radio is the unique ecological karst landscape of South Roscommon.
Did you know….
- Karst is a surface and subsurface landscape that has developed over millions of years where soluble carbonate bedrock is dissolved by slightly acidic rain water.
- Karst is characterized by distinctive surface features including sinkholes, grikes, disappearing streams, and karst springs that connect through its dissolved cracks and fissures into extensive underground systems, including nutrient-rich streams, lakes and caves.
- The surface of karst is infilled by glacial deposits, erosion, and decomposed organic materials which support productive forest ecosystems. Subsurface karst includes moist caves with cool stable environments and nutrient-rich aquatic systems. Karst’s thin soils and hydrological systems are easily damaged by above-ground soil disturbance.
- The karst landscape provides different habitat niches and microclimatic conditions both on the surface and underground. Karst supports a range of dependent species, including rare plants that favour the calcium-rich nutrients, cave invertebrates, salamanders, frogs, bats, and potentially significant microbiological biodiversity.
Karst dependent species are unusual:
- Troglobites: evolved to live exclusively in total darkness and stable temperatures in underground environments, e.g. remnant invertebrates that survived last ice age.
- Troglophiles: are species capable of living in this habitat or out of it. Some individuals may choose to live entire life cycle in Karst habitat, e.g. species of salamanders, spiders, crickets.
- Trogloxenes: use Karst habitat for specific purposes but not entire lives e.g. bats.
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