Microbiology of Movile Cave - A chemolithoautotrophic ecosystem

Deepak Kumaresan, Daniela Wischer, Jason Stephenson, Alexandra Hillebrand-Voiculescu, J. Colin Murrell

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Discovered in 1986, Movile Cave is an unusual cave ecosystem sustained by in situ chemoautotrophic primary production. The cave is completely isolated from the surface and the primary energy sources are hydrogen sulfide and methane released from hydrothermal fluids. Both condensation and acid corrosion processes contribute to the formation of Movile Cave. Invertebrates, many of which are endemic to Movile Cave, are isotopically lighter in both carbon and nitrogen than surface organisms, indicating that they derive nutrition from chemoautotrophic primary producers within the cave. Here we review work on the microbiology of the Movile Cave ecosystem, with particular emphasis on the functional diversity of microbes involved in sulfur, carbon and nitrogen cycling, and discuss their role in chemosynthetic primary production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-193
Number of pages8
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2014


  • chemoautotrophs
  • methanotrophs
  • Movile Cave
  • nitrifiers
  • sulfur oxidizers

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