Cave & Karst Opportunities | Viewing All

The Sinkhole Conference Don’t Forget to Register | April 2-6, 2018
Shepherdstown, West Virginia

The Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst, generally known as “The Sinkhole Conference,” is the longest-running international conference of its type. Since 1984, engineers, geologists, hydrologists, land managers, biologists, and many others have gathered at these meetings to exchange cutting-edge information on karst and its many benefits and challenges. The Sinkhole Conference is managed by the National Cave and Karst Research Institute and this next conference is jointly organized with the Karst Waters Institute. Additionally, the conference will include the 3rd Appalachian Karst Symposium to make for a truly special event.

The 15th Sinkhole Conference will occur on 2-6 April 2018 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA, about a 1.5-hour drive from Washington, DC. The conference circular, which is a convenient summary of the conference, is available from, where all other conference details can also be found.

The Organizing Committee of the 15th Sinkhole Conference Organizing Committee looks forward to receiving your abstracts and seeing you in Shepherdstown next year!

11th International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds Karst Session | April 8-12, 2018
Palm Springs, California

I recently learned that the Program Chairs at Battelle’s upcoming Eleventh International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds have once again accepted my proposal to have a karst-specific session. For the coming conference, the title of the prospective session is “Karst Aquifer Case Studies”. Relevant topics include:

Characterizing groundwater, vapor, and/or contaminant movement (including NAPLs)

  • Innovative techniques and research
  • Tracer studies
  • Developing karst-specific conceptual site models
  • Fate & transport modeling
  • Applications of geophysics
  • Relevant laboratory studies
  • Hypogene karst
Remediating karst aquifers
  • State of the science
  • Planning/implementing pilot- and field-scale remedies
  • Emerging contaminants and karst
  • Ongoing research
  • Lessons learned
Regulatory frameworks, strategies, and challenges

As you may also be aware, remediation in karst terranes continues to receive relatively little attention in the peer-reviewed literature or at national conferences. As the preeminent conference of professionals engaged in groundwater remediation, this Battelle conference offers an excellent platform to highlight the technical achievements of karst-community within the wider audience of the environmental-industry.

Conference: Eleventh International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds (Palm Springs, California; April 8-12, 2018)

Session title: “Karst Aquifer Case Studies” (code: 5d)

Conference Website: Click here to access the conference website

Keith White, CPG | Vice President/Principal Geologist
Arcadis |Arcadis of New York, Inc./Arcadis CE, Inc.

Characterization and Engineering of Karst Aquifers Field Course | May 27 - June 5, 2018
Bosnia and Herzegovina

The next Characterization and Engineering of Karst Aquifers course will be held in the city of Trebinje in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 27 May to 5 June 2018. For more information, see the attached file. It will be followed immediately on 6-9 June 2018 by the symposium, Karst 2018: Expect the Unexpected (more information about this symposium should be released soon).

PDF Attachment

EuroSpeleo Protection Symposium Call for Abstracts | August 23-26, 2018
Ebensee, Austria

On behalf of the European Cave Protection Commission, we kindly invite all speleologists and scientists interested in - or working for - cave and karst protection, to participate at the 5th EuroSpeleo Protection Symposium organized jointly by The Austrian Speleological Association in collaboration with the Speleological Society of Ebensee and the European Cave Protection Commission (ECPC) of the European Speleological Federation (FSE).

Please see the attached circular for information on how to submit your abstract, and for other details.

Jean-Claude Thies and Bärbel Vogel, Coordinators

PDF Attachment

24th International Cave Bear Symposium | September 27-30, 2018
Chepelare, Bulgaria

Save the date! The next International Cave Bear Symposium will be organized in Chepelare, Bulgaria, from 27–30 September 2018 in the Agarta Family Hotel and the Bulgarian Museum for Speleology and Bulgarian Karst. Excursions will be in the Rhodopi Mountains, the Gorges of Trigran en Buynovo, the “Marvellous Bridges,” and Devil’s Throat and Jagodina Caves. Look for the circular and website in the coming months.

18th International Vulcanospeleology Symposium: Registration is Open | July 21-27, 2018
Lava Beds National Monument, California

The 18th International Vulcanospeleology Symposium will be held on 21-27 July 2018 at Lava Beds National Monument, California, USA. Registration has just opened on the new website: (note that this is also a new address). In addition to all of the opportunities the symposium offers, it was also schedule to end with enough time for participants to travel to the US National Speleological Society’s annual convention, which will be in Helena, Montana on 30 July to 3 August 2018. See for more information.

Associate/Professor Position in Cave and Karst Studies
NCKRI-New Mexico Tech, USA

The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology invites applications for an open rank tenure-track position in cave and karst studies in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science (, with target start date in August 2018. New Mexico Tech is the academic partner of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI), located near Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The successful candidate will serve as NCKRI’s Academic Director, facilitating the link between activities at New Mexico Tech’s campus in Socorro and NCKRI headquarters in Carlsbad.

We seek an individual specializing in an earth-science oriented aspect of cave and karst research. Areas of particular interest could include hydrogeology, geochemistry, geobiology, paleoclimatology, and speleogenesis/geomorphology of cave and karst systems. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in the earth sciences or a related field at the time of appointment. Demonstrated excellence in research, a commitment to teaching, potential for future growth, broad expertise in national cave/karst issues, and the ability to coordinate New Mexico Tech’s activities within NCKRI are the most important qualifications. Responsibilities will include developing an active program of extramurally funded research, supervising and supporting graduate students, and teaching two graduate or undergraduate courses per year. The position may be filled at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor, commensurate with qualifications. Salary is negotiable and competitive. Women and underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply. For detailed inquiries, contact search committee chair Dan Cadol (

The Department has strong programs in Hydrology, Geophysics, and Geology/Geochemistry, with a history of interdisciplinary research within the department and with other departments across campus. Additional geoscience professionals on campus include over 30 staff members of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, plus faculty and researchers in the Petroleum Recovery Research Center and the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center. Applicants should submit a letter of interest (including thoughts on how to build on the unique NMT/NCKRI linkage), CV, statements of research and teaching interests (at most 2 pages each), and the names and contact information of three references to New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Human Resources, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801. E-mail applications are not accepted. Review of applicant materials will begin on 15 November 2017 and continue until the position is filled. New Mexico Tech is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and Hispanic Serving Institution.

Two Student Positions in Karst Hydrology & Geophysics
New Mexico Tech, USA

Two Research Assistantships for PhD (or exceptional Masters) students are available in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Research will involve geophysical analysis of karst aquifers, which are important water resources for up to a quarter of the world’s population. The study will employ fieldwork in the Santa Fe River Sink-Rise system in north-central Florida. Geophysical responses to recharge events will be monitored using seismometers, tiltmeters, and GPS instruments and interpreted alongside hydrologic and meteorological data to facilitate aquifer characterization and regionally integrated flow monitoring. Implications range from the development of karst hazards maps, illustrating areas susceptible to sinkhole formation, to subsurface flow monitoring, aiding water supply management. In addition, the students will assist in the development of an interactive traveling exhibit that will be displayed in visitor centers in Florida and New Mexico.

This project provides an excellent opportunity to develop a valuable set of interdisciplinary skills, and the students will be supervised by Andrew Luhmann (Assistant Professor of Hydrology,, (575) 835-5029, Susan Bilek (Professor of Geophysics,, (575) 835-6510, and Ronni Grapenthin (Assistant Professor of Geophysics,, (575) 835-5924. The Department of Earth and Environmental Science at New Mexico Tech has strong programs in Hydrology and Geophysics as well as in Geology and Geochemistry. Several research and instrumentation centers such as the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, IRIS PASSCAL, the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, and the Petroleum Recovery Research Center are housed on New Mexico Tech’s campus and create a vibrant science environment. Students will ideally start in May 2018. The graduate student application deadline for the 2018-2019 academic year is Jan. 15, 2018. For more information, please see

PhD Position in Comparative Karst Hydrology

There is a vacancy for a PhD position in Comparative Karst Hydrology withinthe researchproject “GlobalAssessment of WaterStress in KarstRegions ina Changing World (GloW)” funded by the Emmy-Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

We invite applications for a TV-L 13 position, 65% for 3 years, starting February 1st 2018.

This position will deal with developing a framework to assess the degree of karstification of various karst systems around the globe with the aim to apply this framework within large- scale hydrological modeling. A previously established karst data base with hundreds of observed karst spring discharge time series will be analyzed to extract proxies for karstification at karst basins within different climate regions and to understand factors that control the springs’ dynamics. Later on, process-based modeling will explore different possibilities to incorporate the new knowledge into karst hydrological simulation. The findings of the PhD project will contribute to the development and improvement of a large-scale karst hydrology model.

The PhD candidate will be responsible for the maintenance and use of the karst data base. She or he will extract and pre-process the available (and still growing) data of the karst data base (quality check, statistical analysis). Automatic methods to analyze a large number of time series simultaneously will be developed and applied (in Matlab, R, Python, or similar) and map-based visualizations of the results are planned. The incorporation of the information on karstification will require the application and modification of lumped or semi-distributed karsthydrology models (alsoin Matlab, R,Python, or similar),the estimation oftheir parameters, and the evaluation of their uncertainty.

All applicants should have a MSc degree in hydro(geo)logy, environmental engineering/sciences or in a closely related field. We encourage applications from enthusiastic dedicated individuals with strong quantitative skills as well as good writing skills in English (German is an asset) who enjoy working in the multi-disciplinary team of the GloW project (in total 5 researchers). Strong experience in programming and hydrological modeling are essential, as well as the willingness to visit collaborating research groups within and outside Germany.

We offer an interdisciplinary, international work environment within a formal PhD program ( An intensive exchange of the PhD students between Freiburg and the research teams at University of Victoria (Canada) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) is foreseen. The University of Freiburg is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women scientists. Consequently, we actively encourage applications from qualified women. We also welcome applications from candidates with severe disabilities who will be given preferential consideration in case of equal qualification.

Please send your application including a cover letter, CV, an example of your own scientific writing, a statement of research interests, certificate & transcript of your highest degree earned and the names and contact details of at least two potential references in one pdf-file to Andreas Hartmann ( Application deadline is November 19th 2017.

PhD Karst Hydrology Position
Sydney, Australia

We invite applications for a UNSW Graduate Research Scholarship, starting 2018, for a PhD (3.5 years) or research masters (MRes, 2 years).

Karst develops from the dissolution of carbonate rock and creates a strong heterogeneity of flow and storage processes. Up to now, karst research has been focusing on karstic groundwater processes and little knowledge is available about how karst systems transfer and store water at the surface and the unsaturated zone.

This PhD project is embedded within an international research project led by Dr. Andreas Hartmann (Freiburg, Germany) that investigates karst unsaturated zone processes at different sites across the globe with the aim of filling this research gap. At each site, a large network moisture probes will be installed. In addition, soil water will be analyzed for its isotopic composition.

This advertised position will deal with the exploration of karstic unsaturated zone processes at Wellington Caves, New South Wales. Building on our existing cave drip water monitoring programs, an extensive soil monitoring network will be established with the purpose of exploring the spatial variability of the flow pathways and water storage in the shallow subsurface (soil & epikarst). Combining observations of soil moisture and soil water isotope dynamics at a large number of measurements points will allow to simulate the spatiotemporal variability of shallow subsurface hydrological processes and consequently of the generation of groundwater recharge. The findings of the PhD project will contribute to the development and improvement of a large-scale karst hydrology model and to a better understating of unsaturated zone flow processes that reach a karstic cave below the test site.

The PhD candidate will be responsible for the sampling and analysis of the temporal and spatial distribution of soil moisture and stable isotopes of water in the soil and epikarst. The PhD candidate will use observed soil moisture and stable isotope patterns to establish an improved understanding of the unsaturated zone flow and storage processes. In a second part, an isotope-enabled model will apply the newly gained understanding to simulate the dynamics of drip rates in the cave below the test site.

All applicants should have an Australian Honours degree or equivalent (e.g. MSc) in hydro(geo)logy, soil science or environmental science or in a closely related field. We encourage applications from enthusiastic dedicated individuals with strong quantitative skills who enjoy working in the multi-disciplinary team of researchers. Strong experimental background and willingness to travel frequently to the field sites and work in the fieldis essential. Knowledge of stable isotope hydrology and tracer techniques is an asset.

We offer an interdisciplinary, international work environment, with a home base in Sydney within the graduate community within the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and the Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre. Intensive exchange of the PhD students between Sydney and the research teams at the other sites (Germany, Spain, UK, USA) is foreseen.

Applicants would be expected to be competitive for an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship to cover tuition fees, health cover and an annual stipend. Typically, this would require a top grade from a world top-100 university and research experience which includes one or more research publication. Interested, qualified applicants should send a CV, your research publication(s), a statement of research interests, certificate & transcript of your highest degree earned and the names and contact details of at least two potential references in one pdf-file to Prof. Andy Baker (

Further Reading

  • Hartmann, A., Baker, A., 2017. Modelling karst vadose zone hydrology and its relevance for paleoclimate reconstruction. Earth-Science Rev. 1–54. doi:
  • Jex, C.N., Mariethoz, G., Baker, A., Graham, P., Andersen, M.S., Acworth, I., Edwards, N., Azcurra, C., 2012. Spatially dense drip hydrological monitoring and infiltration behaviour at the Wellington Caves, South East Australia. Int. J. Speleol. 41, 283–296. doi:10.5038/1827- 806X.41.2.14

Grant & Scholarship Conditions & Guidelines View/Hide

It is recommended that an account for disbursing grant funds be set up through the student’s university if at all possible. You should contact your university's research and grant office before submitting your proposal to make sure this is possible and their requirements. The following conditions apply to all grants:

  1. University indirect or overhead costs (Facilities & Administrative Costs) may not be charged to the grant.
  2. The start date of the project is the date of the award letter and ends one year from that date.
  3. If the student has not completed all work on the project within that year, they should request a no-cost extension from the grant program chair. Provide a brief justification and estimated completion date.
  4. A check for the full amount of the award will be sent to the institution at the beginning of the award. Provide appropriate remittance information to the grant program chair and CRF Treasurer.
  5. At the end of the project, CRF would like a brief financial report of expenditures. If funds remain unspent they should be returned to CRF.
  6. The student will prepare a summary report of the research for publication in the CRF Annual Report. This report will be due three months after completion of the project. The report should be less than 2000 words in length (excluding references) and may contain two or three figures or tables as appropriate.
  7. The Cave Research Foundation should be acknowledged as a supporter of the research in any publications deriving from the project.

Allowable Budget Items

  1. Travel costs to and from the field or while in the field. If driving, these costs should be itemized based on university motor pool rates or reasonable rates for use of a personal vehicle.
  2. Per diem or daily allowances for food and lodging while in the field. These costs should be itemized and reasonable.
  3. Expendable field or laboratory supplies necessary for the project. Itemize.
  4. Specialized analyses necessary to the project. Examples might include radiometric dating, isotopic analyses, and specimen thin sections.
  5. Specialized field or laboratory equipment, if it is necessary to the project and justifiable. Examples might include dedicated data loggers, specialized cave equipment, or other specialized measuring equipment.

Unallowable Budget Items

  1. Facility and Administrative costs.
  2. Salary for the principle investigator(s) or other student employees. Salary for field workers from the host country on international projects may be allowable if justified.
  3. General equipment or instruments that have a long use life outside the project, such as computers, cameras, scales, and software are generally not allowable unless they can be justified under number 5 above.

White-Nose Syndrome Communication and Research Grants Available | Deadline: December 6, 2017

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is happy to announce that the WNS Small Grants program is now accepting proposals. This program funds projects for up to $30,000 to support priority communication and research needs for WNS. Applications for this program are due December 6, 2017 and must address identified priorities in:

  • Outreach, education programs, and tools for WNS communications products
  • Tools and strategies to improve survival rates for bats susceptible to WNS
  • Gaps in knowledge of bat life history and ecological interactions relevant to WNS

See important details in the RFP here

The William L. Wilson Scholarship in Karst Science | Deadline: February 1, 2018

The William L. Wilson Scholarship in Karst Science was established in 2002 to recognize the significant karst science contributions of the late William (Bill) L. Wilson. Bill Wilson used a variety of techniques, and unusual creativity, to tackle some of the most difficult karst science questions in Florida and elsewhere. He developed a leading karst consulting company in the United States, Subsurface Evaluations, Inc. To stimulate the development of new, energetic, motivated, and creative karst scientists, and to remember Bill Wilson and his dedication to karst science, the scholarship has been established in his memory. The scholarship includes recognition at the KWI spring banquet, a plaque naming the awardee, and a one-time award of $1,000.

To apply for the William L. Wilson Scholarship, the following conditions exist:

  1. The applicant must be currently enrolled in, or have been accepted into, a master’s degree program at an institution of higher education in the United States. PhD students are not eligible.
  2. A written proposal of the planned karst study must be submitted. The research topic should focus on karst science, broadly defined, including subfields of geochemistry, geology, geophysics, and/or hydrology. Applicants are requested to not recycle master’s thesis proposals as applications. The proposal narrative is limited to 1000 words, not including figure captions, references, or budget explanation. Although funds are unrestricted and do not have to provide complete support of the project, a simple budget and short justification should be included to reflect how the award may further the proposed work.
  3. Academic transcripts of undergraduate, and any graduate work, should be submitted. Copies issued to the student by their institution are preferred.
  4. Two letters of recommendation, with one of them from the student’s advisor or mentor, should be submitted.. It is requested that these letters be emailed directly to by the letter writers.
  5. Applications are due by February 1, 2018. They should be submitted electronically as a single pdf file that includes the proposal, budget, and all transcripts to:

Dr. Janet S. Herman
Professor, Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

Questions regarding the scholarship should be addressed to Dr. Herman.

Applicants will be notified in early March of the decision of the Scholarship Committee.
Publications and presentations derived from supported research should acknowledge the Karst Waters Institute and the William L. Wilson Scholarship.

For more information, go to:

Philip M. Smith Graduate Research Grant for Cave and Karst Research | Deadline: March 1, 2017

Beginning in 2015, the Cave Research Foundation named the graduate research grant program in honor of Philip M. Smith, CRF's founding president (1957-1965). Philip Meek Smith (1932-2014), a native of Springfield, Ohio, and graduate of Ohio State University with degrees in geology and science education, was a national and international leader in science, technology, and public policy for five decades. He is best known for his work on polar research programs with the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, and the National Science Foundation, and served three U.S. presidents – Nixon, Ford, and Carter – on issues of science policy. From the 1950s through the 1960s, Smith was deeply involved in caving, helping to found the Central Ohio Grotto of the National Speleological Society and taking part in the NSS C3 expedition in Floyd Collins Crystal Cave, Kentucky.1 In the early 1950s, there were few American scientists pursuing cave-related research, but advances in exploration like the C3 expedition showed immense potential for sustained exploration and study. CRF was formed to help provide this support, largely modeled on similar organizational support for the International Geophysical Year, in which Smith was then deeply involved. From its inception, CRF has always placed importance on multidisciplinary, integrated research.2 Inspired by Phil Smith's lifelong support for science and his early influence on the organization of CRF, the graduate research grant program is dedicated in his memory.

Each academic year, CRF accepts proposals for graduate student research in cave and karst studies leading to either a master's or doctoral degree. Proposals may be in any field of the earth, natural, or social sciences as long as the research addresses topics related to caves or karst. The award ceiling is determined annually by the CRF Board of Directors; however, typically, four to six grants are awarded annually, ranging from $1000 to $3000 each. Students must be enrolled in a degree-granting institution and preference is given to research directly related to the student's thesis or dissertation project. Competition is open to U.S. and international institutions, but application materials must be in English.

Application Guidelines

The application deadline is March 1, 2017.

The following materials are required as part of the application:

  • A title and abstract. The abstract should not exceed 250 words and be understandable to a non-specialist audience. On this title page, indicate your departmental affiliation, major advisor, and whether this is a master's or doctoral project.
  • A proposal describing the intended research. The body of the proposal should be no more than ten (10), single-spaced pages in length (12 pt. font, 1 inch margins) including tables and figures (references cited are not counted in this limit), and should discuss the problem to be addressed, background, significance of the research, especially as it relates to cave and karst studies, and methods to be used.
  • A budget and proposed research schedule. Indicate other sources of funding or grant programs to which you are applying.
  • A curriculum vitae. This should include a list of peer-reviewed papers, presentations at conferences, honors, and any other information relevant to your qualifications for research and professional work.
  • Two (2) letters of reference. One letter must be from your graduate advisor or committee chair. These letters may be sent directly to the grant program chair by the referee.

In preparing the proposal, it is important to remember that several karst scientists will review the proposal. These scientists may include geologists, biologists, hydrologists, archaeologists, and others. Reviewers are more likely to support research that has broad significance to cave and karst studies.

Application material should be submitted electronically as Adobe Reader files (PDF), Microsoft Word files (DOC or DOCX), or rich text files (RTF) to the grant committee chair, Dr. George Crothers by the deadline.

If electronic submission is not possible, a paper copy may be submitted by surface mail to:

Dr. George Crothers
University of Kentucky
1020A Export St.
Lexington, KY 40506

Applicants may wish to contact the grant committee chair prior to submitting a full proposal to discuss their research topic and appropriateness to the grant program.

1 Lawrence, Jr., Joe, and Roger W. Bucker. 1975. The Caves Beyond: The Story of the Floyd Collins' Crystal Cave Exploration. Zephyrus Press, Teaneck, N.J. Reprint edition, originally published 1955.
2 Smith, Philip M. 1960. Speleological Research in the Mammoth Cave Region, Kentucky: Elements of an Integrated Program. Cave Research Foundation, Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Lava Tube Cave Entrance