Environment-driven control of fungi in subterranean ecosystems: the case of La Garma Cave (northern Spain)

Año Publicación:  2021
Responsable: S. Sanchez‑Moral et al.
Journal, Volumen y páginas:
International Microbiology, 24:573–591


S. Sanchez‑Moral, V. Jurado, A. Fernandez‑Cortes, S. Cuezva, T. Martin‑Pozas, et al.

Airborne microorganisms can cause important conservation problems in caves with Paleolithic art and therefore the knowledge of cave aerodynamic is essential. La Garma Cave (Cantabria, Spain), an exceptional archaeological site with several levels of galleries interconnected and two entrances, presents a complex atmospheric dynamics. An approach including aerobiological sampling together with microclimate monitoring was applied to assess the factors controlling the origin of airborne fungi. Here we show that winter ventilation is critical for the increasing of Basidiomycota spores in the cave air and
the highest concentrations were found in the most ventilated areas. On the contrary, Ascomycota spores prevailed in absence of ventilation. Besides, most Ascomycota were linked to insects and bats that visit or inhabit the cave. The combination of aerobiological and microclimate data constitutes a good approach to evaluate the infuence of external climatic conditions and design the most suitable strategies for the conservation of cultural heritage in the cave environment.

Keywords: Cave, Paleolithic art, Microclimate, Aerobiology, Ascomycota, Basidiomycota

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