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Dr Stefan Eberhard BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr Stefan Eberhard BSc, MSc, PhD has been exploring and researching caves for 40 years, and is one of Australia’s leading researchers in the fields of speleology and subterranean ecology. In the 1980’s, with other members of the Tasmanian Caverneering Club, he spearheaded the exploration and mapping of numerous deep caves including three Australian caving depth records. He is an experienced cave diver, rock climber and mountaineer and has participated in numerous expeditions in Australia and other countries. He has a deep and holistic appreciation of environmental systems and processes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge and understanding with others through presentations, photography and video.

Stefan completed his BSc and MSc at University of Tasmania in 1987, and PhD at Murdoch University in 2004, where he applied the emerging discipline of ecohydrology to studying groundwater decline driven by climate change and its impact on threatened stygofauna.

Stefan's research interests include caves and karst, groundwater ecology, subterranean fauna, conservation management. His other interests include diving, photography and filming and over the years he has been involved in several film documentary projects in caves. In recent years Stefan has upgraded his diving qualifications to include mixed gas rebreather to 100 meters depth and he is currently involved with exploring and filming deep ocean reefs in Tasmania and underwater caves on the Nullarbor Plain.

Stefan is the Director of Subterranean Ecology Pty Ltd, a scientific and environmental consulting company he founded in 2006. He is an Adjunct Affiliate at the University of New South Wales (Connected Waters Initiative Research Center) and a Research Associate with the Western Australian Museum.

Stefan became affiliated with University of New South Wales (Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre) in 2014 and collaborated on an exciting research project investigating the ecology and biogeochemistry of the hyporheic zone of streams in northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland. This two year research project funded by the Department of Environment helped to inform the assessment of ecohydrological responses to coal seam gas extraction and coal mining, especially the effect of groundwater drawdown on stream ecology. 

Prior to undertaking his PhD Stefan was employed at the Western Australian Museum, and before this he was employed by the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service to survey and assess cave fauna across that state. Prior to this he was employed by the Tasmanian government and University of Tasmania on various projects involving caves, karst and subterranean fauna.

After completing his PhD Stefan was employed as a Senior Research Scientist with the government of Western Australia, and was involved with undertaking a large-scale survey of stygofauna in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Stefan has authored or co-authored numerous scientific reports, edited book chapters, and papers in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at many scientific conferences.

In 2009 he received the Australian Speleological Federation Joe Jennings Cave Science Award of Distinction.

He has explored and studied subterranean ecosystems throughout Australia, and other countries including China, Brazil, Indonesia, Timor, Vanuatu, Mexico, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.  

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