State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic Slovak Caves Administration
Štátna ochrana prírody
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Biospeleological research and monitoring

The aim of the basic inventory research of invertebrates in individual caves is receiving knowledge on species composition, which speaks about the measure of representation of troglobite and stygobite forms of organisms, or other interesting, rare, threatened and protected species. In water biocenoses we observe the structure and distribution of plankton and benthos societies of invertebrates in stagnant and running underground waters. Especially are monitored biotic components in places along show paths and away from them. Mutual comparison of results will help us to evaluate the state of underground waters quality in relation to artificial impacts on water biota. The secondary research is related to surveying the species composition of adjacent ponors and springs on the surface, which can be or are interconnected with water habitats underground. This can give us better knowledge on mutual relations and sources of species in surface and underground biota. Within the research of terrestric biocenoses of fauna, the biospeleologic stationary spots are stabilized, where observations and representative collection of animals are done. The research is oriented to determination of species diversity, abundance, spatial distribution and succession of terrestric invertebrates societies, mainly selected arthropods, which make the most important component of cavernicolous fauna.

Collection of water invertebrates, Dobšinská Ice Cave (Photo: P. Ľuptáčik)Collection of water fauna, Spring at the Vyvieranie Cave (Foto: D. Haviarová)Biospeleological stationary for collection of terrestrial fauna (Photo: P. Ľuptáčik)
 

The long-term subject of interest of the Slovak Caves Administration in monitoring of bats. We study the species composition, abundance and spatial distribution of chiropterofauna in years phases, mainly during the winter. The regular long-term monitoring in show caves enables to record continuous changes of bat populations state to be able to confront it with known data e.g. with changes of natural conditions, number of visitors, technical maintenance etc. The bat monitoring in wild caves is aimed at finding and prediction of the most important localities for bat hibernation or reproduction and monitor the extent of possible threats (disturbation, making fire at cave entrance, other forbidden activities). The priority in these locations is to secure higher level of protection. It is realized by more frequent inspections of the speleological guard service – rangers, or by closing the cave entrances by grating with suitable openings for bats to fly in and preventing unwanted people to enter.

Bat monitoring, Suchá Cave (Photo: Z. Višňovská)Fly-in opening for bats above the closure in the Liskovská Cave (Photo: Z. Višňovská)Skeleton remains of cave bear, Važecká Cave (Photo: Z. Višňovská)

The Slovak Caves Administration supports tasks connected with palaeontological research. It is oriented to discovering of fossil and subfossil skeleton remains of vertebrates. A great importance has the determination of exact age of the findings using the 14C method. This will give us a real picture of the landscape in the past, which in connection with the study of climate changes can offer possible solutions to topical environmental problems. The Slovak Caves Administration cooperated in preparation of palaeontological exposition of cave bear in the Važecká Cave and supported dating of the fossil remains of this animal from the cave.

The concept of research in the future

Biospeleological researchActivities oriented to monitoring and protection of bats prevailed up to the 2003. During 2004-2005 two biospeleologists were employed, with active participation on research of invertebrates. The middle-term perspective is to strengthen the field of bat research. Since the problems of biospeleological research are large a cooperation with other research and protection institutions in Slovakia and abroad is necessary.

Biospeleological researchIt is necessary to continue in inventory research, observation of negative impacts on cave biota firstly in caves designated national nature monuments and other localities important from the biospeleological point of view. The practical application of research will help in working up of proposals for practical protection measures. The observations can be applied also in newly discovered caves to be able to compare with later periods.

The long-term perspective can be aimed at creating conditions for experimental forms of research, ecology of selected species, determination of spatial distribution or taxonomic classification of species. An interesting task could be analyses for comparison of species living on border territories of two states as for the potential duplicity.

Monitoring of fauna in the Aksamitka Cave (Photo: Z. Višňovská)Cave pseudoscorpion Neobisium (Blothrus) slovacum (Photo: P. Ľuptáčik)Blind Bathynella natans (Photo: Z. Višňovská)

The primary aim of the biospeleological section will be the protection of underground habitats and organisms.

Stygobitic crustacean Elaphoidella proserpina (Photo: Z. Višňovská)Amphipod Niphargus tatrensis (Photo: Z. Višňovská)

News

COVID admission regime for show caves

Dear visitors

due to dynamically changing situation in Slovakia, we shall keep you updated on application of COVID AUTOMAT with respect to individual show caves. The caves can be entered only with covered mouth and nose and they will be operated either in the BASIC or VTO or completely vaccinated regime. The basic regime means admission of all visitors with possible restriction of number and VTO regime means admission of either only fully vaccinated or negatively tested or those who overcame COVID not later than 180 days ago. The level of risk zone on the other hand sets the rules for wearing either a face mask or a respirator.

SHOW CAVES OPENED AGAIN

Dear visitors, our show caves are opened again from May 15, 2021 under the following restrictions: visitors must wear a face mask, disinfect hands and keep the required distance from each other. Details are stated in official country regulations and legislature. The number of visitors per admission is reduced. Thanks for understanding. We wish you a pleasant visit!

Underground boat trip in Domica Cave not available.

24.07.2018 Due to low yield of underground water the boat trip in Domica Cave is not available. The short tour is available. Thank you for understanding

Cave visit with small children

Dear visitors, due to increased visitation of parents with very small children (circa up to 3 - 4 years of age), we would like to kindly ask you to have a rucksack baby carrier with you for visiting the more demanding caves in given time. This recommendation concerns all caves but the most concerned are the following ones: Demänovská Cave of Liberty, Belianska Cave, Dobšinská Ice Cave, Demänovská Ice Cave, Harmanecká Cave. We also ask you to consider visiting the cave with your crying child, which could disturb the other visitors. Thank you for understanding and we wish you a nice experience.

Cave tour guides for download

Dear visitors, cave tour guides are available for download

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