Caves of Cyprus project: seeking cave researchers

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David Gibson
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Caves of Cyprus project: seeking cave researchers

Post by David Gibson » Sun 26 Apr 2015 13:44

I have been asked to circulate this message to our members...

The Caves of Cyprus Project is looking for researchers to join in a European Union-funded Cypriot Civil Society in Action grant proposal for a 2-3 year cave and karst study on the island that would start in early 2016. The first phase of the project is currently underway with the focus of establishing connections on the island, locating caves, and generating a basic inventory of the geology, biology, archaeology/history of each.

There is currently no web site for this project, but information regarding the application is set out below. Those interested should contact Lauren Satterfield at, who will then arrange a Skype call with you to better explain the project's history and goals and to answer questions, before you submit an application form. However, the deadline of May 5 is fast-approaching, so please make contact as soon as possible.

Further information
The northern part of Cyprus benefits from a very unique and diverse natural heritage that needs to be protected and promoted. A previous EU-funded Technical Assistance provided baseline studies and prepared Special Environment Protected Area (SEPA) management plans to assist with the protection of seven specially protected areas in the northern part of Cyprus. These sites are likely to be designated as “Natura 2000” sites following a comprehensive settlement and reunification. They are Agia Eirini/Akdeniz; Karpasia/Karpaz; Alakati/Alagadi; S.Karpasia/South Karpaz; Akanthou/Tatlisu; Pentadaktylos/Kyrenia Mountains and Famagusta wetlands. This project focuses on studying and protecting the limestone karst of the Pentadaktylos/Kyrenia Mountains through scientific research and educational outreach.

Cyprus is divided politically. As a result, the Greek-Cypriot community is concentrated in the southern part of the island, and the Turkish-Cypriot community in the northern part. Our project works across the island, however due to the restrictions of the grant the majority of work will be conducted in the Kyrenia Mountain Range, a limestone belt spanning the northern shore. The project operates under a Cave Enthusiasts NGO; a collection of Cypriot biologists and outdoor enthusiasts focused on cave research, conservation, and recreation.

Research under the proposed grant will enlist cave and karst experts in several fields to conduct more advanced studies and convey findings through scientific publications and materials for the general public (books, pamphlets, lectures, workshops, etc.). Researchers will be able to design their own projects within the scope of the grant. We seek the roles listed below.

All participants must be EU citizens. We seeks participants from a variety of EU countries. The project operates in English and thus some fluency in spoken and written English is needed for all participants.

Positions Available
  • Project Coordinator – Lives on the island full-time to manage the project, conduct research, and help with visiting researchers. May be a PhD student or post-doc student.
  • Project Technician – Lives on the island full-time and assists the project coordinator in fieldwork and data recording.
  • Secretary – There may be availability for a project secretary. Must spend a portion of the project on-site but could work off-site thereafter. Experience with building and managing databases and using cave mapping software (Compass, Walls, Therion, etc.).
The first two positions must have 2+ years’ vertical caving experience, be physically fit, and enjoy hiking off-trail in harsh conditions (steep terrain, heat, rain, biting insects, snakes, etc.). Experience with cave photography and cave survey required. Experience with Turkish language or willingness to learn required. Experience with rock climbing preferred.

Karst Specialists Needed
  • Geologist: investigate cave formation (mostly tectonic), describe linkages between systems, and predict new cave locations
  • Archaeologist: we have included some man-made and man-modified structures in the project, in addition to finding evidence of human use in natural caves
  • Microbiologist: to investigate the possibility of bacteria mats or unique microbiology
  • Invertebrate biologist: especially with experience in Mediterranean arachnids
  • Bat biologist: species identification, habitat preferences, and distribution
  • Paleontologist: identify fossil remains
  • Hydrologist: caves on the island are extremely dry and mostly formed through tectonic movement, however we are open to suggestions in this area
  • Historian: history of caving in Cyprus and understanding local culture/legend surrounding caves)
  • Cave Rescue Instructor: advise on rescue equipment to include in the grant, help to develop a cave rescue plan for the project (and the island going forward), conduct cave rescue workshops
  • Caving Instructor: offer vertical and horizontal training courses to Cypriots in Cyprus, and arrange trips for Cypriots to cave in other parts of Europe with the goal of understanding the international caving community and its customs
  • Other: suggestions for other areas of research are welcome
Those employed in one of the project positions will receive a monthly stipend. Note that the grant caps monthly salaries for these positions. We anticipate researchers would spend shorter periods on the island (a few weeks to a few months). The project has limited funding but seeks to cover costs of travel, food, and lodging for researchers, along with other incidental costs and stipends where appropriate and as allowed by the granting agency.

For more details or to join the grant proposal, please contact Lauren Satterfield at before May 5, 2015.