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Botany is normally focused on above ground plants, but there are a variety of plants that live just inside the entrances of caves. Also, many of the animals and insects feed on plant material that have washed into the caves. Our perspective at the Cathedral Cave Preserve is to study the overall ecosystem of the cave and karst system, which includes life on the land directly above the cave.

Rebecca Harms Weissinger (NPS Ecologist) conducted an initial vegatation survey of the entire Cathedral Cave Preserve. Her work is very important as baseline data as we study other aspects of the cave and karst system. Some examples include determining animal ranges by analyzing scat samples. Floor sediment dating can be determined by looking at pollen layers in the dirt. And information about Indian usage can be predicted by looking for diagnostic indicator species of plants that have been cultivated near the caves. Rebeccas paper "Preliminary Flora of Cathedral Cave Preserve" can be downloaded by clicking here.




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