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‘Anchialine’ redefined as a subterranean estuary in a crevicular or cavernous geological setting

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An improved understanding of the anchialine ecosystem and geology warrants a redefinition of the term ‘anchialine.’ Originating from subareal biological observations, the term anchialine now encompasses chemical, physical, geological and biological elements within the subterranean realm. We propose a more accurate definition of the term anchialine as ‘a tidally-influenced subterranean estuary located within crevicular and cavernous karst and volcanic terrains that extends inland to the limit of seawater penetration.’ This subterranean estuary is characterized by sharp physical and chemical stratification and merges with a marine system at the coast and a groundwater system inland. The anchialine ecosystem supports a relatively diverse biotic assemblage of stygobiotic species of marine origin dominated by members of Crustacea, both numerically and by species richness.

Affiliations: 1: 1Penn State University, 120 Ridge View Drive, Dunmore, PA 18512, USA; 2: 5Ruđer Bošković Institute, Division for Marine and Environmental Research, Bijenička 54, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia; 3: 6Hrvatske vode, Central Water Management Laboratory, Uvala Škar b.b., p.p. 40, 22001 Šibenik, Croatia; 4: 7Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK; 5: 8Croatian Biospeleological Society, Demetrova 1, Zagreb, Croatia; 6: 9Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77553-1675, USA; 7: 10Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Šetalište I. Meštrovića 63, 21000 Split, Croatia; 8: 11Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA; 9: 12US Geological Survey, Woods Hole Coastal & Marine Science Center, 384 Woods Hole Rd, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA; 10: 13Oddelek za biologijo, Biotehniška fakulteta, Univerza v Ljubljani, p.p. 2995, 1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia


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