Ozark and Appalachian Cave Work / Floridan Aquifer Work
This project seeks to confirm historic localities, formulate conservation strategies, and clarify systematics of critically endangered species and species new to science. We survey known as well as unsurveyed cave systems and conduct bioinventories on behalf of state and federal wildlife agencies. This project also performs annual surveys of several federally endangered cave species.
This project aims to confirm historic localities, formulate conservation strategies, and clarify systematics of critically endangered and imperiled subterranean species, and species new to science, that live in habitats of the Ozark uplift (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma) as well as across the Appalachians. We also work with groundwater species from the Floridan Aquifer in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. We survey known as well as unsurveyed cave systems and conduct bioinventories on behalf of state and federal wildlife agencies. This project also performs annual surveys of several federally endangered cave species. This project was started in 2000.
An offshoot of this project has been the development of captive husbandry and breeding protocols for imperiled groundwater species in the laboratory. San Antonio Zoo’s Center for Conservation & Research has developed a series of specialized labs to accommodate subterranean fauna. This conservation action step provides wildlife officials with another conservation tool in that a manual for keeping and breeding these species is in hand should there be any kind of environmental catastrophe. The advantage is that after said catastrophe, as an emergency measure working to avoid an extinction event, live specimens could be placed into a conservation laboratory and maintained while environmental issues are being mitigated. Our highly trained and specialized staff has worked with several groundwater species and produced “first-ever” lab-based reproduction successes including the Georgia Blind Salamander, the Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish, and the Oklahoma Cave Crayfish. Notable work from this team (with other subterranean species from Texas) includes the lab-based reproduction of Texas Blind Salamanders and Comal Springs Riffle Beetles – both federally listed endangered species.
Project Partners: San Antonio Zoo, Roger’s State University, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Alabama in Huntsville, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Tulsa Regional Oklahoma Grotto, and the Nature Conservancy.