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BHP Billiton

Regional Subterranean Fauna Survey

Subterranean Ecology was commissioned by BHP Billiton to complete its Regional Subterranean Fauna Survey across all its Western Australian northern Pilbara tenements. This large-scale survey collected more than 5,000 samples and identified more than 2,400 troglofauna specimens.

The survey results have greatly enhanced understanding of diversity and distribution patterns in the Pilbara, which has contributed to recognition of the region as a globally significant hotspot for troglofauna (Eberhard et al. 2008, 2009, 2010).


Importantly, the regional-scale scope of the BHP Billiton surveys, which involved extensive DNA sequencing and taxonomic alignment across survey sites, has demonstrated that some species of troglofauna have wide distribution ranges and are not at risk from mining developments.

The survey also identified a number of troglofauna groups (arachnids, isopods, millipedes, silverfish) which often include short range endemic (SRE) species, and which therefore need to be considered in environmental assessments.

Pilbara Scene