Biogeochemical Endemic Organisms

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Biogeochemical Endemic Organisms


forms of plants, microorganisms, and sometimes animals whose distribution is limited to a certain geochemical province. The appearance of a biogeochemical endemic organism is related to the influence of geochemical environmental factors. This is observed more often in mountainous regions, where chemical heterogeneity is more sharply manifested (in rock, soils, and water).

The biogeochemical endemic organisms include plants from various taxonomic groups, including mosses, liverworts, ferns, conifers, and angiosperms. The calamine violet (Viola lutea var. calaminaria) is found in central and southern Europe in soils that are rich in zinc, the serpentinite fern (Asplenium serpentini) is found in central Europe in soils that are rich in nickel and chromium, the cobalt catchfly (Silena cobalticola) grows in central Africa only on copper deposits, and the selenium milk vetch (Astragalus pattersonii) in North America is usually confined to soils rich in selenium. Thus, biogeochemical endemic organisms can serve as indicators pointing to the presence of various minerals in the soil. Among the microorganisms, the sulfur bacteria and the ion bacteria can be considered as biogeochemical endemic organisms.


Koval’skii, V. V., and N. S. Petrunina. “Geokhimicheskaia ekologiia i evoliutsionnaia izmenchivost’ rastenii.” Problemy geokhimii. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.