Fottea, 2015 (vol. 15), issue 1

Fottea 15(1): 1-9, 2015 | 10.5507/fot.2015.001

Nupela troglophila sp. nov., an aerophilous diatom (Bacillariophyta) from the Bossea cave (NW Italy), with notes on its ecology

Elisa Falasco*,1, Francesca Bona1, Marco Isaia1, Elena Piano1, Carlos E. Wetzel2, Lucien Hoffmann2, Luc Ector2
1 Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology (DBIOS), University of Turin, Via Accademia Albertina 13, I-10123 Turin, Italy; *Corresponding author e-mail: elisa.falasco@unito.it
2 Environmental Research and Innovation Department (ERIN), Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Rue du Brill 41, L-4422 Belvaux, Luxembourg

Nupela troglophila sp. nov. is described from epilithic and epiphytic samples collected around the artificial lighting system in the Bossea cave, SW Alps (NW Italy). The morphological features of the new species are described and documented through light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy analysis. A comparison with morphologically similar taxa is provided. Nupela troglophila belongs to the group of the small, elliptical-lanceolate species of the genus Nupela. The key feature that distinguishes it from all the other taxa belonging to this genus is the shape of the distal raphe fissures, always laying on the valvar surface, strongly deflected on the same side, but never reaching the valve mantle. The ecological preferences of the most abundant diatom species are explored through the ecological optimum calculation and the Outlying Mean Index (OMI) analysis. Within the Bossea cave, N. troglophila seems to prefer humid and warm sites. The highest abundance was reached on wet walls characterized by low light conditions. Nupela troglophila was generally associated with Humidophila pyrenaica that showed the same pattern of distribution in the cave and similar relative abundance. On the contrary, N. troglophila showed its lowest densities when Humidophila contenta was abundant. Until now, N. troglophila has been recorded only in the type locality.

Keywords: artificial lighting system, autecology, biofilm, diatom flora, Naviculaceae, show cave

Received: September 17, 2014; Accepted: November 4, 2014; Published: April 22, 2015

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