Speleological Projects

White Nose Syndrome

Pseudogymnoascus destructans and the composition of microbial communities on bats, substrates, air  & soils of Illinois bat hibernacula (with Andy Miller, Tony Yannarell, Ed Heske, Joe Merritt, & Nohra Mateus-Pinilla). >>More information available here<<.

ricolor bat, Perimyotis subflavus, on the ceiling of a western Illinois cave
A tricolor bat, Perimyotis subflavus, on the ceiling of a western Illinois cave, February 2012. This species is commonly covered in water droplets. Photo by Steve Taylor / University of Illinois.

Restoration, Research, and Monitoring at Fogelpole Cave

In collaboration with local nonprofit Clifftop, I am involved in restoration, and am leading long-term monitoring efforts under an Adaptive Management Framework to restore land cover and improve water quality for cave life in Fogelpole Cave, Illinois’ longest and most biologically diverse cave ecosystem.  A 535 acre farm overlaying the cave was recently purchased by Clifftop with more than $2.7 million in financial support from the Illinois Clean Energy Community FoundationGrand Victoria Foundation, and others – more information on this effort is available via Clifftop’s website.  As a part of this effort, I’m conducting a study of groundwater quality in Illinois’ Salem plateau including several sampling locations in Fogelpole Cave in collaboration with Sam Panno (Illinois State Geological Survey), Walt Kelly (Illinois State Water Survey), Wei Zheng (Illinois Sustainable Technology Center), and Bob Weck (Southwestern Illinois College and Clifftop member), with funding from the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center.

man collects water sample in cave
Collaborator Bob Weck (Southwestern Illinois College), collects a water sample from a major tributary in Fogelpole Cave (Monroe County, Illinois) while Department of Entomology graduate student Dan Swanson deploys a Hydrolab datalogger to record basic water parameters. In the background, Western Illinois University graduate student Michelle Golz and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences senior undergraduate Scott Cinel look on. Photo by Steve Taylor / University of Illinois.

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) in Karst Groundwater in Southwestern Illinois

With Walt Kelly (ISWS), Sam Panno (ISGS), and Wei Zheng (ISTC). We are systematically sample springs and caves for pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and other water quality parameters in the Sinkhole Plain of southwestern Illinois, looking at seasonal and discharge effects and relationships among various chemical and bacterial parameters.

Wei Zheng, Walt Kelly, Steve Taylor, Sam Panno, and an unnamed woman

Other projects

  • Karst groundwater contaminants in western Illinois: comparison of current conditions with historical data (with Sam Panno [ISGS] and Walt Kelly [ISWS])
  • Epikarstic groundwater ecosystems in Illinois (with Scott Cinel)
  • Belize: Bioinventory, taxonomy, conservation & management of caves, karst, and groundwater (with Sam HeadsJean KrejcaMike Slay, Jason Bond, Geoff Hoese & others)

man stands in cave openingman up to his shoulders in water in a cave

  • Phylogeography, genetic variation and morphometrics of cave-inhabiting physid snails in Illinois’ Salem Plateau (with Matt NiemillerBob Weck, and Charles Lydeard)

Steve Taylor and Matt Niemiller stand with two collaborators

  • Nevada: Bioinventory, taxonomy, conservation & management in subterranean ecosystems (with Tom Gilleland & Jean Krejca)

  • Shawnee National Forest cave bioinventory & management plans in southern Illinois (with Felipe Soto-Adames & Sam Heads)

Aron Katz in a cave

  • T&E Invertebrate Assessment southern Illinois (with Jeremy Tiemann & Chris Taylor)
  • Biological monitoring in a mine restored as winter bat habitat, Illinois (with Clifftop Alliance)
  • Hydrobiid snails – biology and habitat use in Illinois & Missouri (with Bob Weck, Jeremy Tiemann, Chris Phillips, and Marlis Douglas) and in Arkansas (with Mike Slay)
  • Ozark cave biology (Arkansas, with Mike Slay)
  • Pseudoscorpion taxonomy


  • Stygobromus (Amphipoda) taxonomy (with John Holsinger & members of the Stygobromus Working Group [Megan Porter, Matt Niemiller, Steve Taylor, Mike Slay, Dan Fong, Kirk Zigler, Chris Hobson, & Wil Orndorff)
  • Ecuador: bioinventory, taxonomy, conservation & management of subterranean biota (with Aaron Addison, Theofilos Toulkeridis, & Geoff Hoese). Our research led to being involved in a movie, Galapagos 3D (links to: youtube trailerwebsite), in which Taylor and Addison briefly appear.

  • Conservation, management, and bioassessment of Texas cave invertebrates (with Jean Krejca)