RESEARCHERS AT THE ILIAUNI INSTITUTE OF ZOOLOGY RECEIVE FUNDING FROM THE VAN TIENHOVEN FOUNDATION
Ilia State University received funding (donor organization - The Van Tienhoven Foundation) for a scientific project “Research of cave-dwelling invertebrates and their habitats and education of local population about cave conservation in the karstic massif of Racha, Georgia, Caucasus”. The scientific project is implemented on the Iliauni base.
Participants: Shalva Barjadze, Eter Maghradze, Lado Shavadze, Mariam Gogshelidze
The main goal of the project is the biological and ecological research of the caves of the Racha region and the education of the local population about the importance of the invertebrate animals living in the caves.
Goals of the project:
- Assessment of conservation status of local endemic cave invertebrates according to IUCN categories and criteria;
- Granting the status of a natural monument to some caves, which are characterized by diverse invertebrate taxa;
- Organization of seminars and excursions for the local population to educate them about the necessity of cave biodiversity and conservation;
- Detection of invertebrate communities in poorly explored caves;
- Description of cave-adapted invertebrate taxa for science.
The conservation status of eight one-cave endemic species on the karstic massif of Racha has not yet been assessed. Therefore, the extinction risks of these taxa need to be researched. Cave species are particularly prone to extinction due to human activities, such as disturbing the tranquility of the cave environment. Within the framework of the project, the above-mentioned conservation problems will be solved and the anthropogenic pressure on the caves of the region will be reduced due to the planned educational activities.