Cave Biology Research


Dr. Steve Taylor's research focuses on cave and karst ecosystems. This work has bearing on future biological surveys for IDOT.  In Illinois, Steve conducts a variety of studies on cave faunas, including studies of the Federally listed Illinois cave amphipod (Gammarus acherondytes) and other amphipods, the state-endangered enigmatic cavesnail (Fontigens antroecetes), White Nose Syndrome of bats, and more general cave bioinventories. He also works at other locations across the United States into Central America, with a current project focusing on biodiversity in caves of southern Belize. This work on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, includes bioinventories of Illinois Nature Preserves and state and federal lands, helps facilitate management of rare, threatened, and endangered invertebrates. Data from these studies also go into the development of management and monitoring plans for cave and karst ecosystems.


Some pictures of cave research:

Steve Taylor in a lava tube

Steve Taylor squeezing through a tight spot in a lava tube while conducting cave research.



Alan Yanahan in a cave

Alan Yanahan, a graduate student in the Department of Entomology (University of Illinois), climbs down into a Union County, Illinois cave to help with invertebrate bioinventories.  Photo by Steve Taylor (Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois).



bat roosting in a cave

A bat roosting on the ceiling of an Illinois cave.  Photo by Steve Taylor (Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois).



cave flatworm

Sphalloplanna hubrichti, an eyeless, white, cave-adapted flatworm on a rock in a St. Clair County, Illinois cave.  Water quality impacts of urbanization and development may adversely impact these aquatic cave invertebrates.  Photo by Steve Taylor (Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois)



Taylor and Soto-Adames

Steve Taylor and Dr. Felipe Soto-Adames collect terrestrial invertebrate data in a Monroe County, Illinois cave.  Photo by JoAnn Jacoby (University of Illinois).



 Ed Heske and Steve Taylor

Mammalogists Dr. Ed Heske and Dr. Joe Merritt (both Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois) collect a swab sample from a bat in a Hardin County, Illinois hibernaculum as part of a study of the devastating bat disease, White Nose Syndrome.  Photo by Steve Taylor (Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois).



Steve Taylore in Belize

Steve Taylor using a handheld probe to record relative humidity in a cave in southern Belize, with other researchers, as part of a multi-cave bioinventory project.  Photo by Mike Slay (The Nature Conservancy).