EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

The benefits a scientific element can bring to a Caving Expedition

Session code: OE41

Oral / Exploration, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Miss Oana Chachula


Over the years many expeditions have embodied a scientific element as part of their investigations of a cave or caving area. Sometime this is done for genuine scientific interest and sometimes with the dual agenda of attracting funding or gaining access to an area.The Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Expedition has since its outset in 1992 taken bio-speleological observations as part of its mapping and exploring caves. Over the years this element has grown with expedition member who are either professional or amateur biologist taking the lead on various aspects related to their particular interest or expertise. From 1999 onwards there has been a focus on cave invertebrats, particularly spiders, and cave fish. More recently from 2011 onwards there has been a strong focus on bats and micro-organisms with an international compliment of cavers and professional biologists working alongside the exploration teams. In 2011 two new bat species were identified, Murina jaintiana and Murina pluvialis, with other species that were new for India or for Meghalaya identified. In 2014 one new endangered species, namely Otomops wroughtoni were discovered that double known world bat population of this species. In 2016, the biggest known bat colony in Meghalaya was observed in the Piel Klieng Pouk/Seilkan Pouk System with an estimated 0.5 million Hipposideros armiger and H. lankadiva. These discoveries have not only added to the knowledge of bio-speleology of Indian Caves but also enriched the overall expedition experience for all.


Caver and bat scientist, since 1999. She is an active member of the Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Expedition, since 2011 and involved in the bat inventory of Meghalaya and Rajahastan caves, India as well as in conservation and exploration projects in Romania, Turkey and Greece. She co-authored 3 caving books.


Conservation scientist (biologist) at the National Museum of Romanian History, Centre of Research and Scientific Investigation - Bucharest, Romania
Caver at Mountain Sports Club Hunedoara – Romania