Seasonality in surface weather results in seasonal temperature and humidity changes in caves. Ecological and physiological differences among trogloxenes, troglophiles, and troglobionts result in species-dependent responses to this variability. To investigate these responses, we conducted five biological inventories in a marble cave in the Sierra Nevada Range, California, USA between May and December, 2010. The cave was divided into six quadrats and temperature was continuously logged in each (humidity was logged at the entrance and in the deep cave). With increasing distance from the entrance, temperature changes were increasingly attenuated and lagged relative to surface temperature. Linear regressions were created to determine the relationship between measured environmental variables and diversity for cavernicoles (troglobionts and troglophiles) and trogloxenes cave–wide and in the transition zone. Diversity for cavernicoles and trogloxenes peaked in the entrance and deep cave zones, respectively. Quadrat, date, 2-week antecedent temperature average, 2-week antecedent temperature range, and trogloxene abundance explained 76% of cavernicole diversity variability. Quadrat explained 55% of trogloxene diversity variability. In the transition zone, trogloxene abundance explained 26% of cavernicole variability and 2-week antecedent temperature and 2-week antecedent temperature range explained 40% of trogloxene variability. In the transition zone, trogloxene diversity was inversely related to 2-week antecedent temperature average and 2-week antecedent temperature range, suggesting that species were moving into the transition zone when temperature was most stable. In a CCA of cavernicoles distribution data and environmental variables, 35% of variation in species-specific distributions was attributable to quadrat, and non-significant percentages were explained by date and environmental variables. Differences in assemblage structure among quadrats were largely due to differences between distributions of trogloxenes and cavernicoles, but responses varied among species. Differences are likely due to ecological niche width, physiological constraints, and competition.



Table 2.xlsx (15 kB)
Table 2. Number of each taxon recorded during each sampling event and in each quadrat (* denotes cavernicoles).