Thanks to its unique microclimatic, geomorphological , hydrological conditions forming a mosaic-like environment present at all scales, numerous Late Tertiary and Pleistocene warmth-loving gastropod taxa managed to find refugee within the Carpathian Basin during the major-minor cold spells of the Ice Age. This complex system of refugia have been continuously functioning and evolving since the Late Tertiary through the entire Pleistocene and the Holocene. To understand the spatial and temporal evolution of refugia, detailed paleoecological investigations have been implemented, results of which are summed here. The high-grade fractal-like complexity of the environment led to the emergence of a so-called dual refugia, which is a unique feature of the Carpathian Basin. This temporally parallel but spatially differing presence of habitats for taxa of contrasting ecological needs was noted for paleotemperature gradients and temperate woodland and steppe habitat types as well. Furthermore, detailed geological and paleoecological analysis of a small Pleistocene hot-spring fed pond revealed information about the evolution of endemic thermophylous freshwater gastropod taxa within this microrefugia. This chapter is aimed to give an overview of the nature, evolution of temperate terrestrial and freshwater gastropod refugia present in the Carpathian Basin during the Ice Age.
Part of the book: Biological Resources of Water