Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 31 Number 3: 73-82- July 1969

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Microecosystems in Lehman Cave, Nevada
N. Stark


Over 70 species of plants and animals have been found and most of these identified from Lehman Cave near Baker in eastern Nevada. These organisms play parts in 12 microecosystems, some of which are "pseudo" or lacking producer organisms, and "terminal" or destined to cease to exist once the organic food supply left by former trogloxenes is exhausted. The microecosystems differ in degres of moistness, depth of "soil" development, the presence or absence of light, and the numbers and types or organisms they support. A strong controlling factor in an otherwise quite stable environment is the extremes of temperature, air relative humidity, air movement, and the drying power of the air caused by turning lights on or off in various reflecting positions. Lights boxed on three or four side produce conditions too severe at 0.1 m distance for plant growth, but deep reflectored or open bulbs (100 w) produce cool, moist conditions, favoring moss while shallow reflectored bulbs favor algae on moist sites at 0.1m.

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