By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Steve Taylor is an associate research professor at Colorado College, where he studies cave and groundwater biology. He just received a grant from the Cave Conservancy Foundation to fund research on small, shrimp-like animals called subterranean amphipods.
This coming summer, Taylor and one or more students will sample groundwater beneath streams and in springs and caves across numerous river basins in the Colorado Rockies to collect amphipods and record environmental parameters.
Taylor, who is married to Tutt Library Director JoAnn Jacoby, describes the significance of this research, saying, “as stewards of this little jewel of a planet floating through time and space, are we not better equipped to make decisions when we know what lives here?” He also says that “shallow groundwater is one of the easiest habitats to contaminate through human activities such as leaking septic or gasoline tanks, or contaminated runoff from roadways,” but is often overlooked. Human activities have a broad array of impacts on surface and groundwater, meaning that knowledge of “new populations or new species of amphipods could feed into all sorts of decisions in the future.”
The Cave Conservancy Foundation grant will permit Taylor to take on one research student in the summer of 2018, and possibly a second if additional CC funding allows. Students can contact Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in this research, as Taylor explains “with advance planning, many things are possible!”