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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology

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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That dissolution of limestone is the solubility of calcite (and hence of limestone) in pure water is very low, but is vastly increased in the presence of carbon dioxide. this gas, dissolved in the water to produce carbonic acid, permits dissociation of calcium carbonate, and dissolution rates and loads are therefore directly related to carbon dioxide content. this accounts for the importance to limestone dissolution of plant growth; soil water contains greatly more carbon dioxide than stream waters. further dissolution occurs due to mixing of saturated waters of different carbon dioxide content (see mischungskorrosion), because of a nonlinear relationship between carbonate saturation and carbon dioxide content. this process is of major significance to continued dissolution within the phreas. cold water can dissolve more carbon dioxide but, with respect to cave development, this climatic factor is overwhelmed by the higher organic activity producing more carbon dioxide in warmer environments. loss of carbon dioxide, by diffusion into open air, causes water to precipitate calcite as speleothems. limestone dissolution may also be achieved by organic acids or by strong acids, particularly sulphuric acid, though such effects are normally far less than that of carbon dioxide. strong acid dissolution is probably involved in the inception of most underground drainage. dissolution by sulphuric acid formed by oxidation of sulfide minerals or gases may be a major cave-forming process in some regions, and was largely responsible for the enlargement of carlsbad caverns and lechuguilla cave, new mexico [9].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for size (Keyword) returned 491 results for the whole karstbase:
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Origin of the sedimentary deposits of the Naracoorte Caves, South Australia, ,
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Forbes Ms, Bestland Ea,
The origin of the sediments located in the Naracoorte Caves (South Australia) was investigated via the analysis of strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr), elemental geochemistry, and mineralogy. Sedimentary deposits located in Robertson, Wet, Blanche and several other chambers in Victoria Cave are all variable mixes of fine sand and coarse silts, which display similar and consistent strontium isotope ratios (0.717-0.725). This suggests that over the 400[no-break space]ka time frame that these deposits span there has been minimal variation in the source of the clastic sediments. Increased strontium concentrations for these cave sediments correspond with increasing silt content, yet there is no correlation between 87Sr/86Sr ratios and silt content. This implies that the silt-sized component of the sediments is the main contributor of strontium to the cave sediments. Comparisons of 87Sr/86Sr with regional surficial deposits show a significant correlation between the cave sediments (avg: 0.7228; n = 27), the fine silt lunettes of the Bool Lagoon area (avg: 0.7224; n = 4), the sandy A horizons of the Coonawarra Red Brown Earths (RBEs; avg: 0.726; n = 5), and Holocene age podsolic sand deposits (0.723). These data suggest that there has been substantial flux from this group of deposits to the caves, as would be expected considering prevailing winds. This relationship is further supported by a strong correlation between many trace elements, including Ti, Zr, Ce, and Y; however, variations in clay mineralogy suggest that the fine silt-dominated lunettes and Padthaway RBEs were not significant contributors to the cave deposits. Hence, the detritus entering the caves was more than likely from areas proximal to the cave entrance and was dominated by medium grain-sized materials. Major regional deposits, including the coarser-grained, calcite-rich Bridgewater Formation sands, basalts from the lower SE, Padthaway Horst granites, Gambier limestone, and metamorphics from the Adelaide geosyncline show minimal correlation in 87Sr/86Sr ratios, elemental geochemistry, and mineralogy with the cave sediments, and are discounted as significant sources. In comparison, 87Sr/86Sr ratios for the Coorong silty sands (0.717-0.724), Lower Murray sands (0.727-0.730), and the medium size silt component of the Murray-Darling River system (0.71-0.72), compare favourably with the cave sediments. This relationship is further supported by similarities in elemental chemistry and mineralogy. Thus, much of the strontium-rich silt that is now located in the Naracoorte Cave sediments likely originated from the Murray-Darling basin. Over time, this material has been transported to the SE of South Australia, where it mixed with the medium sand component of the regressive dune ridge sequence, locally derived organic matter, limestone fragments, and fossil material to produce the unique deposits that we see evident in many of the chambers of the Naracoorte Cave system today

Predicting travel times and transport characterization in karst conduits by analyzing tracer-breakthrough curves, ,
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Morales Tomas, De Valderrama Inigo, Uriarte Jesus A. , Antiguedad Inaki, Olazar Martin,
SummaryThis paper analyzes data obtained in 26 tracer tests carried out in 11 karstic connections following solutional conduits in karst aquifers in the Basque Country. These conduits are preferential drainage pathways in these aquifers and so they confer a marked anisotropy and high vulnerability to them. Consequently, their consideration in protection and management studies and projects is a priority.The connections studied cover a wide hydrogeological spectrum (a wide range of sizes, slopes, geomorphic and hydrologic types) and the tests have been carried out at different hydrodynamic states. It is noteworthy that they all follow a similar trend, which has allowed for the development of a statistical approximation for the treatment of the whole information.Relationships have been established involving velocity, solute time of arrival, attenuation of peak concentration and time of passage of tracer cloud. These relationships are a valuable tool for management and supporting decision-making and allow for making estimates in connections in which the information available was scarce. This information is especially useful, given that the complexity of transport in karst conduits gives way to important deviations between real data (empirical observations) and the data obtained by simple approaches based on the Fickian-type diffusion equation

Transport and variability of fecal bacteria in carbonate conglomerate aquifers, ,
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Goeppert N. , Goldscheider N.

Clastic sedimentary rocks are generally considered non-karstifiable and thus less vulnerable to pathogen contamination than karst aquifers. However, dissolution phenomena have been observed in clastic carbonate conglomerates of the Subalpine Molasse zone of the northern Alps and other regions of Europe, indicating karstification and high vulnerability, which is currently not considered for source protection zoning. Therefore, a research program was established at the Hochgrat site (Austria/Germany), as a demonstration that karst-like characteristics, flow behavior and high vulnerability to microbial contamination are possible in this type of aquifer. The study included geomorphologic mapping, comparative multi-tracer tests with fluorescent dyes and bacteria-sized fluorescent microspheres, and analyses of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in spring waters during different seasons. Results demonstrate that (i) flow velocities in carbonate conglomerates are similar as in typical karst aquifers, often exceeding 100 m/h; (ii) microbial contaminants are rapidly transported towards springs; and (iii) the magnitude and seasonal pattern of FIB variability depends on the land use in the spring catchment and its altitude. Different ground water protection strategies than currently applied are consequently required in regions formed by karstified carbonatic clastic rocks, taking into account their high degree of heterogeneity and vulnerability.


On hypogean Roncocreagris (Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones: Neobisiidae) from Portugal, with descriptions of three new species, ,
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Reboleira Ana Sofia P. S. , Zaragoza Juan A. , Gonalves F. , Orom P.

Three new hypogean species of the Iberian genus Roncocreagris Mahnert, 1974 are described from mainland Portugal: R. borgesi sp. nov. and R. gepesi sp. nov. from caves in the Sicó massif, and R. occidentalis sp. nov. from caves in the Montejunto and Cesaredas karst plateau. This brings to nine the number of known hypogean species of the mostly Iberian genus Roncocreagris: five from Portugal and four from Spain. Ecological comments and new localities for some of the previously known species are also included.

Anomalous behaviour of specific electrical conductivity at a karst spring induced by variable catchment boundaries: the case of the Podstenjšek spring, Slovenia, ,
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Ravbar, N. , Engelhardt, I. , Goldscheider, N.

Anomalous behaviour of specific electrical conductivity (SEC) was observed at a karst spring in Slovenia during 26 high-flow events in an 18-month monitoring period. A conceptual model explaining this anomalous SEC variability is presented and reproduced by numerical modelling, and the practical relevance for source protection zoning is discussed. After storm rainfall, discharge increases rapidly, which is typical for karst springs. SEC displays a first maximum during the rising limb of the spring hydrograph, followed by a minimum indicating the arrival of freshly infiltrated water, often confirmed by increased levels of total organic carbon (TOC). The anomalous behaviour starts after this SEC minimum, when SEC rises again and remains elevated during the entire high-flow period, typically 20–40 µS/cm above the baseflow value. This is explained by variable catchment boundaries: When the water level in the aquifer rises, the catchment expands, incorporating zones of groundwater with higher SEC, caused by higher unsaturated zone thickness and subtle lithologic changes. This conceptual model has been checked by numerical investigations. A generalized finite-difference model including high-conductivity cells representing the conduit network (“discrete-continuum approach”) was set up to simulate the observed behaviour of the karst system. The model reproduces the shifting groundwater divide and the nearly simultaneous increase of discharge and SEC during high-flow periods. The observed behaviour is relevant for groundwater source protection zoning, which requires reliable delineation of catchment areas. Anomalous behaviour of SEC can point to variable catchment boundaries that can be checked by tracer tests during different hydrologic conditions.

The Discovery, Exploration and Scientific Investigation of the Wellington Caves, New South Wales, 1963,
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Lane Edward A. , Richards Aola M.

Although research has been unable to establish a definite date of discovery for the limestone caves at Wellington, New South Wales, documentary evidence has placed it as 1828. The actual discovery could have been made earlier by soldiers or convicts from the Wellington Settlement, which dated from 1823. Whether the aborigines knew of the cave's existence before 1828 is uncertain, but likely, as in 1830 they referred to them as "Mulwang". A number of very small limestone caves were also discovered about the same time in the nearby Molong area. The Bungonia Caves, in the Marulan district near Goulburn, were first written about a short time later. On all the evidence available at present, the Wellington Caves can be considered to be the first of any size discovered on the mainland of Australia. The Wellington Caves are situated in a low, limestone outcrop about six miles south by road from the present town of Wellington, and approximately 190 miles west-north-west of Sydney. They are at an altitude of 1000 feet, about half a mile from the present bed of the Bell River, a tributary of the Macquarie River. One large cave and several small caves exist in the outcrop, and range in size from simple shafts to passages 200 to 300 feet long. Mining for phosphate has been carried out, resulting in extensive galleries, often unstable, at several levels. Two caves have been lit by electricity for the tourist trades; the Cathedral Cave, 400 feet long, maximum width 100 feet, and up to 50 feet high; and the smaller Gaden Cave. The Cathedral Cave contains what is believed to be the largest stalagmite in the world, "The Altar", which stands on a flat floor, is 100 feet round the base and almost touches the roof about 40 feet above. It appears that the name Cathedral was not applied to the cave until this century. The original names were "The Great Cave", "The Large Cave" or "The Main Cave". The Altar was named by Thomas Mitchell in 1830. See map of cave and Plate. Extensive Pleistocene bone deposits - a veritable mine of bone fragments - were found in 1830, and have been studied by palaeontologists almost continually ever since. These bone deposits introduced to the world the extinct marsupials of Australia, and have a special importance in view of the peculiar features of the living fauna of the continent. The names of many famous explorers and scientists are associated with this history, among the most prominent being Sir Thomas Mitchell and Sir Richard Owen. Anderson (1933) gives a brief outline of why the Wellington Caves fossil bone beds so rapidly attracted world-wide interest. During the 18th and early 19th Century, the great palaeontologist, Baron Georges Cuvier, and others, supposed that the earth had suffered a series of catastrophic changes in prehistoric times. As a result of each of these, the animals living in a certain area were destroyed, the area being repopulated from isolated portions of the earth that had escaped the catastrophe. The Bilical Deluge was believed to have been the most recent. Darwin, during the voyage of the Beagle around the world (1832-37), was struck by the abundance of Pleistocene mammalian fossils in South America, and also by the fact that, while these differed from living forms, and were in part of gigantic dimensions, they were closely related to present-day forms in that continent. Darwin's theory of descent with modification did not reconcile with the ideas of Cuvier and others. As the living mammalian fauna of Australia was even more distinctive than that of South America, it was a matter of importance and excitement to discover the nature of the mammals which had lived in Australia in the late Tertiary and Pleistocene.

Remarks on the Japygidae (Insecta, Diplura) reported for the underground environment., 1964,
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Pages Jean
About 50 japygids, belonging to 29 distinct forms of which 23 are recognizable, have been collected since 1874 in caves all over the world. A list is given, by continent and by countries. Ten species found both in the soil and in caves are called troglophiles to emphasize the sorting which seems to occur among endogenous species. Of the remaining 13 species, all considered troglobites, only 3 show morphological peculiarities which can be ascribed to adaptation to cavernicolous life: (1) Metajapyx moroderi ssp. patrizianus Pags from Sardinia shows a slightly longer l0th urite and cerci than the f. typ.; (2) Kohjapyx lindbergi Pags from Afghanistan is characterized by its very long l0th urite, its relatively slender cerci, and the presence of more than 8 placoid sensillae (maximum basic number in endogenous species) on the apical segment of the antennae; (3) Austrjapyx leleupi Pags from the Lower Congo fits most closely the picture of the true troglobite; almost entirely depigmented, slender, with elongate legs, long setae, and the antennae with two of the trichobothria 4 to 5 times as long as the other typical 11, as well as 14 placoid sensillae on the apical segment. It is noted in the conclusion that, among the Diplura and Myriapoda, the almost exclusively phytophagous or saprophagous Campodeids and millipedes include a large number of true troglobites, in contrast with the carnivorous Japygids and centipedes, which have very few troglobites.

Nullarbor Expedition 1963-4, 1964,
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Anderson, Edward G.

The Nullarbor Plain, Australia's most extensive limestone region, consists of about 65,000 square miles of almost horizontal beds of Tertiary limestone. The Plain extends from near Fowlers Bay, South Australia, approximately 600 miles west across the head of the Great Australian Bight into Western Australia. However, for its size, the Nullarbor appears to be deficient in caves compared with other Australian cavernous limestones. The vastness of the area, isolation, and complete lack of surface water, makes speleological investigation difficult. Some of the most important caves are more than 100 miles apart. The 1963-4 Nullarbor Expedition was organised by members of the Sydney University Speleological Society (SUSS). Two major caves, as well as a number of smaller features were discovered in the western part of the Plain. One cave contains what is believed to be the longest single cave passage in Australia.

Pelodrilus bureschi Mich. 1924 (Oligochaeta Haplotaxidae) of the caves of Banat (Romania)., 1966,
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Botea Francisc, Botosaneanu Lazare
Pelodrilus bareschi Mich., one of two species of limicolous oligochaetes strictly confined to a subterranean environment and previously known from several caves in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, was recently found in three caves in the Banat Mountains, Romania. Examination of sexually mature worms showed that they are within the range of variability of P. bareschi and that there is no reason to describe a form peculiar to the caves of Banat. Pelodrilus has almost always been found in the mud or clay covering the bottom of pools of variable size, which are filled by periodic flooding of underground water courses. The Banat colonies are small.

Contribution on the study of European Bathynella: Bathynella natans Vejdovsky, a dilemma to resolve., 1966,
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Serban Eugne.
After a minute study of the structure of the 8th male pereiopod in some Bathynella populations from Romania and England, the structure differences which were found allowed to identify two well individualized kinds of pereiopods; they were named type natans and type stammen. Taking into account the striking differences between these two types, B. stammeri (Jakobi), which since 1954 is considered to be a subspecies of the natans species, was separated out of the species B. natans sensu Jakobi (1954). The populations understudied were collected in England and Romania, their minute study being the object of an other note, collaboration with T. Gledhill. The facts led to the conclusion that Jakobis opinion (1954), which dominated the taxonomy of this group, doesnt entirely correspond to the reality, the two taxonomical units being characterized as follows:; Bathynelta natans Vejdovsky, characterized by the 8th male pereiopod (fig. I A) with a triangular, well developed anterior plate (fig. 3 A-D-a; 7 A-D), of the same length with the exopodit, a cylindrical internal lobe (fig. 3 A-D-b,) and a little lobe (fig. 3 A-D-c) of a reduced size;; Bathynella stammeri (Jakobi) differing from the first with respect to the anterior pinte (fig. 2 A-D-a; 6A-C) which is rectangular in shape and has a prolongation in the distal outer angle, to the conelike internal lobe (fig. 2 AD-b), and to the little lobe (fig. 2 A-D-d) which is twolobed in this case. After discussion on the relationship between B. catena Vejd. and B. stammeri (Jakobi) it is shown that differences observed in the 8th male pereiopod structure give important indications about the above species to the effect that they are not very closely related. If one takes into account also their wide spreading area, and the individualisation of some populations due to important, characteristic traits; we are obliged to classify them into two different sub-genera. In the first one, the species catena is included; which will keep by this way the very name of the genus, and in the second, termed here Antrobathynella, the species stammeri. In conclusion, what was till now considered as Bathynella natans Vejdovsky sensu Jakobi, was divided into two distinct species each of them pertaining to two different sub-genera, that is: Bathynella (Bathynella) natans Vejdovsky and Bathynella (Antrobathynella) stammeri (Jakobi). It is demonstrated that the synonymy Jakobi made between B.chappuisi and B. natans is perfectly true under the new conditions too, because it was Delachaux (1919) who rediscovered B.natans Vejd., not Chappuis (1914). The material found by Chappuis in Basel (1914) appears to pertain to B. stammeri (Jakobi) differing both from the individuals from the Grotte de Ver (Delachaux, 1919) and from Prague (Vejdovsky, 1882).

Breeding Caves and Maternity Colonies of the Bent-Winged Bat In South-Eastern Australia, 1966,
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Dwyer P. D. , Hamiltonsmith E.

Eight breeding Caves of Miniopterus schreibersi (Kuhl) are described from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Southern Queensland, in terms of their structure, the location of nursery areas at which juveniles are deposited after birth, and their physical environments. Maternity colonies are found at these caves through spring, summer and early autumn. Established colonies range from about 15,000 to 200,000 bats at peak size. These individuals are predominantly adult females and their young. Adult males are conspicuous only at the single South Australian breeding cave. Births occur from approximately the beginning of December to mid-January at all colonies except that in South Australia, where a birth period is evident between mid-October to late-November. Artificial warming, as a consequence of bat activity, appears to be characteristic of these Miniopterus schreibersi breeding caves. It is suggested that this may have functional significance in facilitating adequate development of juveniles, and that the habit could be a reflection of the tropical ancestry of this species.

Observations on the Eastern Horse-Shoe Bat in North-Eastern New South Wales , 1966,
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Dwyer, P. D.

Between July, 1960, and December, 1963, observations were made on the natural history of Rhinolophus megaphyllus Gray in north-eastern New South Wales. Typically the species occurs as small colonies in a wide variety of cave and mine roosts. It appears to be absent from available roosting sites at higher altitudes in this area. Seasonal changes in the sizes of testes and epididymides suggest that mating occurs in May and June. The single young are born at maternity colonies through November, and nursing lasts about eight weeks. Field weights do not reflect seasonal variation other than that associated with pregnancy. However, seasonal differences in daytime level of activity are noted and these correlate with behavioural changes apparently related to temperature selection. Changes in colony size are described for several roosts and three movements made by marked individuals are recorded. Males appear to be more sedentary than females. Considerable aggregation of females and their young at maternity colonies (size, 15 to 1,5000 individuals) characterises the spring and summer population.

Underground solution canyons in the Central Kentucky karst, U.S.A., 1967,
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Watson Richard A.
Solution canyons are underground voids 1 to 15 + meters wide, 3 to 45 + meters high, and 30 to 300 + meters long. Floors are stepped, ceilings level. Size increases downstream. Their course is sinuous, with some angularity. They occur parallel to and directly under or slightly offset from the thalwegs of re-entrant valleys tributary to major karst valleys. A section across a re-entrant and underlying solution canyon shows a rough hour-glass shape. Solution canyons are related genetically to solutional vertical shafts, forming where removal of the impermeable sandstone caprock permits the vertical descent of water through jointed limestone. Surface runoff concentrates along re-entrant thalwegs where a largo quantity of water goes underground. This water, plus subsurface water flowing over the caprock breached by the valleys, follows the easiest route to baselevel down major vertical joints oriented parallel to the thalwegs. Solution by water seeping down these joint planes forms solution canyons.

Caves of Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua, 1968,
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Ollier C. D. , Holdsworth D. K.

The Trobriand group of coral islands is situated 100 miles off the northeast coast of Papua and north of the D'Entrecasteaux Islands. The largest island, Kiriwina, is 30 miles long and 12 miles across at its widest point. The authors visited Kiriwina for two separate periods of one week in 1967 and 1968 to undertake a phytochemical survey and a reconnaissance exploration of the caves. They believe that they explored all the sizeable caves from Wawela north. A DC-3 aircraft of Papuan Airlines operates a weekly flight between Port Moresby and Losuia, the Administration centre. Accommodation is provided on the island at the Trobriand Hotel, conducted by Mr. T. Ward, whose two trucks are used for local transportation on roads engineered by the US Army during World War II.

The natural populations of Stenasellus virei Dollfus (trgoglobic Crustacea Asellota)., 1973,
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Magniez Guy
Many cavernicolous and phreatic localities are known for the species Stenasellus virei. Some of these, which harbor a rather abundant population have been studied for several years. The endemic populations from permanent waters of some fossil karstic systems seem to have an abnormal composition. They include especially large individuals (juvenile stages being rare). They differ from the phreatic populations, which exhibit a normal distribution in size groups with a normal percentage of juveniles. These differences in the structure of populations may result from physical differences between the habitat in free waters of caves and in phreatic water, and from differences between the associations of species that these two types of hypogean habitat may support.

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