2016 Course Schedule
|Karst Geology||June 12-18||Dr. Art Palmer|
|Cave Survey and Cartography||June 18-24||Dr. Pat Kambesis|
|Intermediate Caving Techniques||June 24-29||Dr. Pat Kambesis and Dr. Jason Polk|
|Experiential Ecology||July 10-16||Dr. Julian (Jerry) Lewis|
Karst Geology is a field course that introduces the basics of karst and cave origin, with emphasis on geologic controls, interpretation, and field methods. Treatment of these subjects begins at an introductory level but quickly moves on to the level at which students are able to recognize and interpret karst geology on their own. Detailed topics include karst features and their origin, their geologic setting, hydrologic and chemical processes by which they form, geologic history of the Mammoth Cave region, how to interpret past conditions from karst features, and applications to practical problems. The course consists of classroom presentations and discussions, combined with field trips to surface and underground sites in and around Mammoth Cave National Park. The course is available as a workshop, or for credit (either undergraduate or graduate). For those taking the course for credit, a two-week field project and written report are required by September 15 following the course. A prior course in geology is recommended but not required. This course is held at the Hamilton Valley Research Facility near Mammoth Cave National Park. The objectives of this course are to introduce students to the full variety of karst and cave features and to the methods by which they can be interpreted. Although field work is focused on Mammoth Cave and vicinity, illustrated discussions will cover caves and karst of different types throughout the world. At the end of the course, students will be familiar with the main concepts of how caves and karst relate to their geologic setting and what they tell us about the regional geologic history. They will also be familiar with field techniques and technical criteria for distinguishing among the various types of cave origin and karst processes.
Instructor: Dr. Art Palmer
Arthur N. Palmer Bio: Arthur N. Palmer is former director (now retired) of the Water Resources program at the State University of New York at Oneonta and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Hydrology and Geochemistry, Emeritus. He has also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Research. He received his undergraduate degree at Williams College and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University. He and his wife Peggy have been involved with cave studies for several decades. They have done exploration, mapping, and geologic studies in many caves throughout North America, Europe, and China, with long-term projects in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. They are both honorary members of the National Speleological Society (NSS). Art also received the Science Achievement Award from the NSS. He is a member of the Cave Research Foundation and British Cave Research Association, and a fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA). In 1994 he received the Kirk Bryan Award for his GSA Bulletin article Origin and Morphology of Limestone Caves, and in 2004 he received the lifetime achievement award in karst from the Karst Waters Institute. Art is author of A Geological Guide to Mammoth Cave National Park, interpretive booklets on Jewel Cave and Wind Cave, South Dakota, co-editor of Speleogenesis - Evolution of Karst Aquifers, and author of many journal articles and book chapters on caves and karst. His latest book, Cave Geology, concerns the origin and interpretation of all cave types, including geologic, hydrologic, and chemical aspects, at a level that is accessible to readers with no technical scientific background, but which includes enough detail to be useful even to professionals in the field.
Cave Survey and Cartography Course Description
Instructor: Dr. Pat Kambesis
Dr. Pat Kambesis
Intermediate Caving Techniques Course Description
Participants will learn various about intermediate caving, exploration, and safety techniques to further develop their skills related to the activitiy of caving for recreation, research, or conservation. Covered topics include horizontal and vertical caving methods, equipment, clothing, gear, proper safety protocols, lights, single rope and harness knowledge, and organizing expeditions. The class will consist of both field experience and classroom instruction.
Instructor: Dr. Pat Kambesis
Dr. Pat Kambesis
Instructor: Dr. Jason Polk
Jason S. Polk, Ph.D. is the Director of the WKU Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies and HydroAnlaytical Lab, and an Associate Professor of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University. He earned his doctorate degree from the University of South Florida in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy. Dr. Polk's current research investigates water resources and sustainability, isotope hydrology and geochemistry, karst resource management, and climate change in tropical/subtropical environments. He has been awarded over 50 grants for these research initiatives and published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts. Dr. Polk’s teaching and research experiences include Karst Environments, Geomorphology, Environmental Isotope Geochemistry, Hydrology, and others. Dr. Polk has won several teaching and research awards, is a Fellow of the National Speleological Society, and conducts research in various places all over the world, including the Caribbean, China, South America, and Europe. In addition, Dr. Polk has expertise in hydrologic monitoring, water quality and quantity assessment, including stormwater, drinking water, and wastewater, and isotope geochemistry. Dr. Polk serves as Faculty Advisor of the Green River Grotto Student Organization. He is an active member of the National Speleological Society, Geological Society of America (serves as Vice Chair of the Karst Division), American Geophysical Union, International Association of Hydrogeologists, and Association of American Geographers. Dr. Polk is also a Special Lecturer for the International Atomic Energy Agency. Dr. Polk also serves as Vice President of The Karst Conservancy, a non-profit land trust dedicated to the conservation, preservation, and education related to cave and karst landscapes throughout the United States. He also serves on the Advisory Board of The $100 Solution non-profit service learning organization.
Experiential Ecology Course Description
Experiential Ecology: Hands-on Subterranean Ecology in the Mammoth Cave Region. This course will be a completely hands-on experience in field ecology with zero papers, readings, or classroom lectures. For persons seeking academic credit for participation in the course, final grades will be determined by attendance and participation. Unlike in the past when obligate cave communities were considered to be largely separate assemblages from animals occurring on the surface, participants in the course will be looking at the ecological niches of terrestrial and aquatic animals inhabiting a variety of subterranean habitats. The emphasis will be on examining cave habitats and communities, but the roles of sinkholes, deep soil compartments, springs, seeps, stream gravel interstices, and the epikarst will also be explored since each of these habitats have subterranean communities that are uniquely adapted to live there. The ecological classification of the animals inhabiting caves and the spectrum of other subterranean habitats will be discovered and some biological myths debunked—white, eyeless animals that are found only in forests,but black, eyed animals that are troglobites, i.e., animals restricted to caves! In what ways have modern molecular genetics and DNA analysis re-framed the ways in which we see cave animals?How have these animals evolved? How broad are their ranges? We will examine the evolutionary paths that lead animals into subterranean niches. Are there really “troglobites in training”? In the “real world”, how does the ecological classification of a species, its range restriction (endemism), and the size of its population affect actual decision-making in the construction of highways and other large-scale engineering projects? How has man changed this environment? We will investigate the “paradox of enrichment”. Is more really better? When is enough enough? The central Kentucky karst is a renowned example of pollution ecology and the roles of Mammoth Cave National Park and the surrounding towns and industries will be our classroom. The day-to-day ecological methods for conducting ecological evaluations will be performed, with hands-on population censusing in different cave habitats. Identification of cave animals will be learned, and different methods of estimating population sizes conducted in streams and terrestrial habitats in Mammoth Cave. The practical roles of RT&E…rare, threatened and endangered species…will be explored and the actual methods used for determining global rarity and listing learned. The concepts and techniques that students will learn are applicable from Franklin County, Kentucky to France, and everywhere in between…subterranean biology is a global concern and concepts and techniques from around the world will be employed. The largest cave system in the world will be our playground and we will investigate all of the rides!
Instructor: Dr. Julian (Jerry) Lewis
Dr. Julian J. Lewis has been working with cave and other subterranean communities for over 40 years. His dissertation research encompassed the subterranean aquatic communities in Mammoth Cave where community composition, species diversity, and overall population ecology were addressed. As owner and operator of a biological consulting company that deals solely with cave, karst and groundwater biology, his experience is in the “real world” of evaluating subterranean communities and habitats whose fates range from being protected in nature preserves to being bulldozed under highways or industrial parks. His field experience spans from the Hawaiian Islands to Lorraine. His clients have included The Nature Conservancy, federal agencies, various engineering firms, departments of transportation, and natural heritage programs from many states. Current projects include the final pre-listing evaluation of populations and habitats of troglobitic species in Kentucky that are being placed on the federal list of endangered species (for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and evaluation of nutrient flow through sinkholes into subterranean ecosystems (for U.S. Forest Service). In the world of academia, Dr. Lewis has published dozens of journal articles and book chapters. He is a life-long member of the National Speleological Society (N.S.S.) and is the editor for biology and conservation of their Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. He was presented the N.S.S. Science Award for lifetime achievement in the cave sciences. Dr. Lewis has taught a variety of classes at the university level and mentors graduate students as a member of their graduate committees. Currently he is the president of the Indiana Karst Conservancy, a member of the Cave Research Foundation, and sits on the boards of a variety of cave organizations and conservancies.