December 20, 2014 · Uncategorized

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Worked in the Ozarks in December performing endangered species counts and bioinventories in caves for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.  Some shots from the work:

As with all of my images posted here, they are for your enjoyment and are not public domain, all are copyrighted.  Please do not copy, download, post online, or reuse in any fashion the photographs that I have posted without express written permission to do so.  Any use of my images must be approved in writing.  To access the images I have posted, you must click on the subject heading link above.  By doing so, your action serves as legal recognition of my stated copyright restrictions; it signifies your willingness to use the images only after written permission is provided, and it acknowledges that failure to follow the rules is a violation of international copyright law.  Thank you for your cooperation.
The risk of groundwater contamination in the United States is greatest in agricultural areas where, ironically, an estimated 95% of local residents rely directly on the resource for their freshwater needs. Humans benefit from careful management of groundwater. So does the wildlife living there. This is a groundwater isopod (Caecidotea antricola). Isopods are related to crabs and shrimp.
The Oklahoma Cave Crayfish (Cambarus tartarus) is listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species is only known from the subterranean waters of three cave systems in Delaware County, Oklahoma. Why should you care about a crayfish that lives in groundwater? Careful management of groundwater resources will benefit both wildlife and humans. For example, contamination and over-harvest of groundwater threaten both cave crayfish and humans living on the surface. Around the globe, groundwater is often harvested faster than rainfall can replace it. Further, the health of groundwater wildlife populations will reflect the quality of the groundwater in which they live. Careful monitoring of groundwater wildlife populations can tell us much about subterranean waters and contaminants therein. Management of groundwater as a renewable resource is an important point considering that well in excess of 50% of all Americans now rely directly on groundwater for their freshwater needs. Let’s protect our groundwater resources... for our children and for the wildlife living there.
The Oklahoma Cave Crayfish (Cambarus tartarus) is listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species is only known from the subterranean waters of three cave systems in Delaware County, Oklahoma. Why should you care about a crayfish that lives in groundwater? Careful management of groundwater resources will benefit both wildlife and humans. For example, contamination and over-harvest of groundwater threaten both cave crayfish and humans living on the surface. Around the globe, groundwater is often harvested faster than rainfall can replace it. Further, the health of groundwater wildlife populations will reflect the quality of the groundwater in which they live. Careful monitoring of groundwater wildlife populations can tell us much about subterranean waters and contaminants therein. Management of groundwater as a renewable resource is an important point considering that well in excess of 50% of all Americans now rely directly on groundwater for their freshwater needs. Let’s protect our groundwater resources… for our children and for the wildlife living there.
In a day and an age where we put people, such as sports figures, up on pedestals (IMHO, people that are paid well in excess of their contribution to society), I’d like to point out some folks that are well worth recognition. Mike Slay of the Nature Conservancy (to your left) has dedicated his career to the conservation of Ozark habitats, particularly of subterranean wildlife. Mike participates in endangered species counts, in habitat delineation, and in developing conservation strategy for species desperately in need of the help. His work has had an impact on many species. Daphne Soares (to your right) is a professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has traveled the globe to study cavefishes and advance the scientific understanding of sensory systems used by these animals – her work is highly regarded in the field and has delivered much needed attention to these little known organisms. She participates in endangered species counts and cares deeply for the many taxa that are increasingly imperiled. Both Mike and Daphne work with Matthew Niemiller (not pictured here). Matt’s work has focused on better developing the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of subterranean wildlife. Early in his career, Matt has already had a tremendous impact on both the science behind and the conservation of wildlife living below ground. On top of it, all three are great people and so much fun to work with. These are some of the people that inspire me.
In a day and an age where we put people, such as sports figures, up on pedestals (IMHO, people that are paid well in excess of their contribution to society), I’d like to point out some folks that are well worth recognition. Mike Slay of the Nature Conservancy (to your left) has dedicated his career to the conservation of Ozark habitats, particularly of subterranean wildlife. Mike participates in endangered species counts, in habitat delineation, and in developing conservation strategy for species desperately in need of the help. His work has had an impact on many species. Daphne Soares (to your right) is a professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has traveled the globe to study cavefishes and advance the scientific understanding of sensory systems used by these animals – her work is highly regarded in the field and has delivered much needed attention to these little known organisms. She participates in endangered species counts and cares deeply for the many taxa that are increasingly imperiled. Both Mike and Daphne work with Matthew Niemiller (not pictured here). Matt’s work has focused on better developing the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of subterranean wildlife. Early in his career, Matt has already had a tremendous impact on both the science behind and the conservation of wildlife living below ground. On top of it, all three are great people and so much fun to work with. These are some of the people that inspire me.
A 7 hour cave crayfish survey in groundwater...love it!
A 7 hour cave crayfish survey in groundwater…love it!
Collecting data on Cambarus tartarus
Collecting data on Cambarus tartarus
We had to navigate a river to get to the mouth of a cave today.
We had to navigate a river to get to the mouth of a cave today.
 Señor Slay liked the upper reaches of the cave stream where we worked today. Clean flowing water with lots of stygobitic invertebrates.
Señor Slay liked the upper reaches of the cave stream where we worked today. Clean flowing water with lots of stygobitic invertebrates.
Once upon a time there were three very different little kids who grew up to be three very different cavers with three things in common: they're brilliant, they're beautiful, and they work for me. My name is Charlie.
Once upon a time there were three very different little kids who grew up to be three very different cavers with three things in common: they’re brilliant, they’re beautiful, and they work for me. My name is Charlie.
Dr. Daphne Soares takes a quick shower....
Dr. Daphne Soares takes a quick shower….
We had company in the evenings when eating dinner.
We had company in the evenings when eating dinner.

I'll close with one of my favorite shots from the trip... Señor Slay sizes up a cave crayfish during a population count for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

I'll close with one of my favorite shots from the trip... Señor Slay sizes up a cave crayfish during a population count for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Written by Dante


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