Encyclopedia of Caves (Third Edition) - Mapping subterranean biodiversity

Elsevier, Encyclopedia of Caves (Third Edition), 2019, Pages 678-685
Maja Zagmajster and Mary C. Christman

The ability to describe and explain the spatial distribution of subterranean species is especially important in light of numerous human activities that alter the environment in irreversible ways. Knowing where and under what conditions various species are found is important to study their evolution and ecology, and to correctly plan management and conservation of their habitats. Understanding the processes that have led to and sustain current distributions can help in understanding the impact of future environmental scenarios. Mapping in its basic meaning refers to graphical presentation of species occurrences as well as derived parameters such as densities and species richness over an area. Here we present some statistical approaches, which can be used in interpretation, hypotheses testing, and decision making; and that have been applied in analyses of subterranean biodiversity. We start with describing data requirements for spatial representations and statistical analyses in subterranean habitats, and emphasize the importance of considering spatial autocorrelation in analyses. We present methods to decompose spatial processes, to study drivers of biodiversity patterns and list approaches to predict the patterns in not sampled areas. We conclude with cautionary note on comparative biodiversity patterns analyses, which should consider specifics of data and analyses used.