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What is Species Richness?
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Species richness is how many species there are in an environment.

What Influences the Species Richness of a Cave?

Before you read any further, stop and imagine with your classmates that you're a cave critter looking for a new home—what would matter to you? These things would control how many species live in an environment.

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So what controls the species richness in caves? Some scientists think that it's a matter of the historical (geological) events. An example of a historical event is the glaciations of the Pleistocene era . Some recent research by Christman and Culver suggests that several other factors are important. The number of caves per county appears to be important in determining whether one or more troglobite will live there. The amount of how many caves are connected may determine the number of species present, because the connectivity of caves allows for organisms to move back and forth between caves. Factors such as climate, amount and kind of vegetation that is over the cave, and the whether or not the cave is suitable to live in may also be important. This is an area of active research that is going to require the skill of modelers. So, study your math if you're interested in doing research into species diversity!

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Species Diversity and Endemism
The Species Diversity of a Cave


Click Here to Learn More About the Differences Between Cave and Surface Food Webs
Click Here for an Example of Competition
Click Here to Find Out About Species Diversity
Click Here to Learn About Nutrient Cycling