|Photo credit: Nikki Fox (Sweetwater in Maxwelton Sink Cave,WV)
CCF Fellowship History
2019-2020 CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, Undergraduate Fellowship Level
Levi Trumbore, University of the South (Department of Biology).
“Cave Biodiversity of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park”
2019-2020 CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, Ph.D. level
Lauren Ballou, Texas A&M-Galveston (Department of Marine Biology)
“Assessing the biogeographic distribution of anchialine cave fauna using Typhlatya (Crustacea: Atyidae) and Remipedia (Crustacea) as model taxa”
Proposal Abstract: Anchialine caves are present throughout the world and host a diverse array of stygobitic fauna. The distribution and general ecology of anchialine fauna remains largely unknown due to the limited accessibility of submerged cave systems. Developing a better understanding of the distribution of these species will provide key insight into their evolutionary and biogeographic history. The major objectives of this proposal are to determine the phylogeographic partitioning of anchialine cave fauna on a regional scale (with model genus, Typhlatya) and a global scale (with model Class, Remipedia). Within both groups, extensive morphological and genetic analyses will be conducted to elucidate relationships amongst species. In addition, the feeding ecology of Remipedia will be examined to better understand the trophic dynamics and ecological adaptability within these extreme habitats. Anchialine ecosystems are highly susceptible to pollution and are located in rapidly developing touristic regions throughout the world. Thus, identifying the local and global distribution capabilities of these fauna will be critical for developing conservation strategies.
2019-2020 CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, M.S. level
Anna Harris, Western Kentucky University (Department of Geography and Geology)
“Quantifying the impacts of timber harvest on karst systems in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska”
Proposal Summary: The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is home to a dynamic and vulnerable karst ecosystem. Karst in the Tongass is distinct, supporting significant micro and macro regional ecosystems: well-developed old growth forest, prodigious salmon streams, and muskeg peat. This fragile ecosystem sits at the nexus of timber harvest, climate change, and US Forest Service land management practices. While anthropogenic impacts on karst terrains are well studied, few studies have been conducted regarding the implications of deforestation on karst, specifically on heavily managed landscapes in a temperate rainforest. This study will compare forest regrowth, natural flow regimes, water qualities, and sedimentation in two karst watersheds: an old-growth forest that has never been logged and a previously logged, second growth forest. Climate data will be recorded at 10-minute intervals, to calculate throughfall and infiltration rates. High-resolution data will be collected for pH, temperature, specific conductivity (SpC), and turbidity, also at 10-minute intervals, at each of the major springs in each watershed. Grab samples for cations (Ca, Mg) and alkalinity (HCO3-) will be collected to statistically develop a relationship with SpC and calculate dissolution rates within each watershed at high-resolution. Cesium 137 (137Cs) and lead 210 (210Pb) will be used to date sediment in caves from each system. The sediment dates to determine sedimentation rates, which will be correlated to previous timber harvests and management practices. These data are expected to show how timber harvest has affected the nature of these karst systems. Given the societal and scientific value of the study area, the scarcity of karst research in the Pacific Northwest, and the co-sponsorship of the US Forest Service, this study is a valuable contribution to a growing body of data with relevant practical applications.
2018/2019 Scholarships Awarded
The Cave Conservancy Foundation has awarded Fellowships for the pursuit of Karst studies since 1997. Over the years approximately $500,000 has been awarded. We also thank those that work on this program; especially, Drs. Culver and Hobbs who have lead facets of the program for years. This year’s fellowship awards are:
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, Ph.D. level($20,000): Olivia Hershey, University of Akron (Department of Integrated Bioscience). “Ultra-small cells in the Wind Cave lakes: A metagenomic investigation of the microbial community within a karst aquifer”.
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, M.S. level($7,000): Chelsey Kipper, Western Kentucky University (Department of Geography and Geology). “A geochemical comparison of two telogenetic karst springs during reverse flow, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky”
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, Undergraduate level($6,000): Meredith Snyder, University of South Florida (Department of Cell, Molecular Biology & Microbiology). “Characterization and Analysis of the Crab Creek Cave Biofilm Community”
2017/2018 Scholarship Awarded
The Cave Conservancy Foundation has awarded Fellowships for the pursuit of Karst studies since 1997. Over the years approximately $475,000 has been awarded. This year’s fellowship awards are:
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, Ph.D. level ($15,000): Aron Katz, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (Department of Entomology). “Cave Springtrail Phylogeography Across the Mississippi River Valley”
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, M.S. level ($5,000): Elizabeth Willenbrink, Western Kentucky University (Department of Geology). “Policy Communication and the Impact of Agricultural Communities on Karst Landscapes: A Case Study in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam”
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, Undergraduate level ($5.000): Victoria E. Frazier, University of South Florida. “Microbial-Driven Limestone Dissolution in a Coastal Karst System”
2016/2017 Scholarship Awarded
The Cave Conservancy Foundation has awarded Fellowships for the pursuit of Karst studies since 1997. Over the years approximately $450,000 has been awarded. This year’s fellowship awards are:
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, Ph.D. level ($15,000): David Brankovits, Texas A&M at Galveston (Marine Biology Interdisciplinary Program). “A Biogeochemical Investigation of the Carbon Cycling and Methane Dynamics in an Anchialine Cave Ecosystem in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico”
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, M.S. level ($5,000): Kelsey Budahn, University of Akron (Department of Geology).“Condensation Corrosion Processes, Products, and Influence on Cave Morphologies in the Iberian Chain, Spain”
- CCF Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies, Undergraduate level ($5.000): Abigail Harmon, University of Tennessee – Knoxville. “ Evaluating the impact of minor anthropogenic activites in a seemingly pristine karst watershed, Carter Caves State Resort Park, Kentucky”.
The Conservancy recognizes Drs. Annette Engel and Horton Hobbs for their outstanding Fellowship program conduct.
2015/2016 Scholarship Awarded
The 2015-16 fellowship recipients are listed below. The fellowships are awarded for studies covered topics like speleothem climate records, groundwater hydrology, mechanisms of speleogenesis, and geoarcheology, as well as microbial mediation of biogeochemical processes in karst and the molecular genetics of diverse cave fauna found throughout the United States. Findings from these projects will undoubtedly transform cave and karst science. After careful consideration, we congratulate this year’s fellowships recipients:
- Bachelors ($5,000): Alison DeVivero, Jacksonville University (Department of Biology and Marine Science): “Geochemical Investigation of Discharging Submarine Springs and Source Waters San Salvador, Bahamas”
- Masters ($5,000): Allan Cabrero, San Diego State University (Department of Biology): “Lava tube landscape genomics of the cave harvestmen Speleonychia sengeri (Opiliones, Briggsidae)”
- Doctorate ($15,000): Charles D.R. Stephen, Auburn University (Department of Biological Sciences): “A revision of two problematic pseudoscorpion clades and an exploratory transcriptomic approach to examining troglomorphic evolution in pseudoscorpions”
The Foundation congratulates this year’s recipients and encourages 2016 – 2017 scholarship applications. Interested parties should watch this page or the “NSS News”.
2014/2015 Scholarship Awarded
- Bachelors (5,000): Ben Freidel, American University: Ben’s study is Cryptic Variation in the Morphological Evolution of Eye Loss in Subterranean Amphipods.
- Masters ($5,000): Justina Dacey, University of Jacksonville: Justina’s topic is stable isotopes and ion concentrations as tracers for groundwater-surface water interactions on the St. Johns River.
- Doctorate ($15,000): Kathleen Brannen, University of Tennessee: Kathleen’s topic is comparative metagenomics of microbial succession reveals complex dissolved organic matter cycling in and epigenic cave stream.
The Foundation congratulates this year’s recipients and encourages 2015 – 2016 scholarship applications.Interested parties should watch this page or the “NSS News”.
2013/2014 Scholarship Awarded
- Bachelors (5,000): Linnea Carver, University of the South, Sewanee: Linnea’s study is the reproduction, feeding and diversity of cave spiders in the Southern Appalachians.
- Masters ($5,000): Flora Sperberg, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez: Flora’s topic is reconstructing a record of hydroclimate variability over the last two millennia using speleothems collected from Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
- Doctorate ($15,000): Shahan Derkarabetian, San Diego State University: Shahan’s study is to explore the genetic processes underlying cave adaptation.
2012/2013 Scholarship Awarded
- Bachelors ($5,000): Amelia Weiss, University of California, Berkeley: Amelia’s study is the abiotic influences on the distributions of tropical cavernicoles.
- Masters ($5,000): Tracy Audisio, San Francisco State University: Tracy’s topic is the taxonomic revision and phylogeny of the cavernicolous spider genus Yorima. She is part of the group of western speleobiologists that are discovering and documenting the diversity of western caves.
- Doctorate (15,000): Terri Brown, University of Tennessee: Terri ‘s study is the characteristics and dynamics of dissolved organic carbon in caves, especially with respect to chemoautotrophy, heretofore thought to be limited to a very few caves.
2011/2012 Scholarship Awarded
- Undergraduate Scholarship ($5,000) to Lory Henderson, The Department of Biology, University of New Mexico for “Hidden treasure lies beneath the Earth’s surface: Do nutrient availability and human impact correlate to antibiotic production in cave bacteria?”
- M.S. Scholarship ($5,000) to Cameron T. Craig, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama for “Investigating Limiting Factors in Surface vs. Subterranean Systems: A Threshold Elemental Ratio Approach”
- Ph.D. Scholarship ($15,000) to Katrina Koski, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Tech for “Hyporheic Zone Exchange in Phreatic Karst Conduits and Contaminant Implications”
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