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Climate Change Adaptation / NCCARF

Subterranean Hydrology Surveys

Funded by the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association, Stefan Eberhard completed a three year research project on the hydrology and ecology of the Threatened Aquatic Root Mat Communities in Caves of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge. Later with Murdoch University colleagues he helped to develop tools for assessing groundwater dependent ecosystems in caves. This research was supported by a grant from the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Fund (NCCARF) to Murdoch University. 

Link to NCCARF funded report


Aquatic root mat communities of stygofauna occur in limestone caves in the Margaret River and Yanchep karst areas in southwest Western Australia.  These threatened ecological communities (TECs) are listed as critically endangered under the Environmental Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Most known occurrences of these TECs have been declining and many have disappeared in the last two decades, including in Lake Cave, Jewel Cave and Easter Cave, where several locally endemic species of stygofauna are probably now extinct.

Subterranean Fauna Surveys