Interim Recovery Plan 2008–2013 for the 'Aquatic root mat communities numbers 1 to 4 of caves of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge'
Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth, 2008
- Interim Recovery Plan 2008-2013 for the 'Aquatic root mat communities numbers 1 to 4 of caves of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge' (PDF - 465 KB) | (Word - 676 KB)
Name: Aquatic root mat communities numbers 1–4 of caves of the Leeuwin–Naturaliste Ridge
Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) Region: South West.
DEC District: Blackwood
Shires: Augusta-Margaret River and Busselton
Recovery Team: Leeuwin–Naturaliste Aquatic Root Mat Community Recovery Team
Description: The four originally described root mat communities occur separately in Easter and Jewel Caves, Strongs Cave, Calgardup Cave, and Kudjal Yolgah and Budjur Mar Caves on the Leeuwin–Naturaliste Ridge. Species composition of the community in each of these cave systems differs significantly. Each community is described as comprising a complete food web; the rootlets and their associated microflora providing the primary food source, and root mat grazers, predators, parasites, detritivores, and scavengers completing the interactions. The root mats are produced by karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) in Easter Cave and Strongs Cave, marri (Corymbia calophylla) in Calgardup Cave and karri and peppermint (Agonis flexuosa) in Kudjal Yolgah Cave. Aquatic cavernicoles (cave animals) in these communities include koonacs (Cherax preissii), other crustaceans, mites, rotifers, microscopic worms, tardigrades, and insects and crustaceans. Some of the species appear to be endemic to these cave systems, and some to be confined to a single cave.
This plan makes use of much new data from Eberhard (2004, 2006) to amend the extent of the four known root mat communities, to review the most immediate threats to the cave communities and to suggest new actions. These actions include both those that address threats identified by Eberhard (2004, 2006) and those intended to investigate the most appropriate number and description of listed ecological communities to be recommended during the life of this plan.
Current status: All four cave root mat communities were assessed on 18 April 1996 as Critically Endangered. Despite new information showing a much larger extent of root mats on the Leeuwin–Naturaliste Ridge, the four communities still fit criteria for Critically Endangered. Actions to review the most appropriate description of stygofaunal (animals living in underground waters) assemblages of the Leeuwin–Naturaliste Ridge, and threat status in the light of recent information, are included in this plan.