Cave Life of Mendip



Adit - horizontal mine passage for access or drainage.
Aerobic (bacteria) - requires the presence of oxygen.
Anaerobic (bacteria) - can live in the absence of, and does not require, oxygen.
Amphipod - a type of crustacean with the body flattened laterally e.g. freshwater shrimp. Successive pairs of limbs tend to be modified differently.
Arthropod - invertebrate in the phylum Arthropoda having jointed limbs, segmented body and exoskeleton made of chitin e.g. crustaceans, insects, spiders, mites, ticks, millipedes.
Base rich - rocks/soils with relatively little silica (as opposed to acidic that have relatively high levels).
B.P. - years before present; as a convention, 1950 is the year from which B.P. dates are calculated. It is commonly used when radio carbon dating.
Freeeliving - animals and plants that live independently i.e. not parasitic.
Cavernicole - a more general term for a creature that lives in a caves and can complete its life cycle there, but may also live in other dark habitats e.g. soil, under stones, bark. It includes troglophiles and troglobites, not visitors.
Chemotroph - Chemotrophs are organisms that obtain energy by the oxidation of electron donating molecules in their environments. The chemotroph designation is in contrast to phototrophs which utilize solar energy. Chemotrophs can be either autotrophic (utilise simple inorganic sources such as carbon dioxide, water, nitrates), or heterotrophic (energy obtained from oxidation of organic compounds).
Gour - flowstone deposit that forms along edges of pools and so grows to form a dam, often found in succession down a passage forming a natural staircase.
Isopod - a type of Crustacean with flattened bodies (as if they have been stood on like a woodlouse). The seven pairs of visible legs are essentially similar.
Larvae - juvenile animal that undergoes complete metamorphosis to become an adult e.g. caterpillar to butterfly. Often the larvae and adult look very different.
Lumen - The lumen is the SI (International) unit of luminous flux, a measure of the power of light perceived by the human eye. Lighting equipment in the EU must now be labelled in lumens.
Lux - the SI (International) unit of illuminance, lux takes into account the area over which the luminous flux is spread and is frequently defined as one lumen per square meter (lm/m2). (One lux equals 0.0929 footcandles).
Niche (ecological) – ecological lifestyle of an organism, usually unique to that particular species.
Nymph - juvenile animal that undergoes incomplete metamorphosis to become an adult. The nymph and adult often look similar.
Phreatic - saturated cave passages and those created under such conditions
Protozoa- minute, mostly microscopic, aquatic or parasitic single-celled animals, whose single cell performs all their life functions.
Silicified – process during fossil formation in which organic matter is replaced by silica.
Stygobites - animals found only in underground aquatic habitats i.e. an aquatic troglobite.
Troglophile - can successfully complete its life cycle both in and out of the cave environment.
Troglobite - cannot complete life cycle outside of the cave environment. These have morphological adaptations to the cave environment e.g. blind, longer legs, lower metabolic rate.
Trogloxene - animals that visit caves e.g. for shelter, but do not complete their life cycles there.
Vadose - unsaturated cave passage containing air and usually water. Within the vadose zone water is freeflowing down to the saturated phreatic zone.




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