Ioana Nae, PhD Biology: the eLTER experience and how it helped my scientific path
“When I decided to apply for funding to work in an eLTER site I never thought what an experience it will be. I have chosen Postojna Cave, from Slovenia, because I work in caves, studying arthropod communities from subterranean habitats in Romania, in the Institute opened by Emil Racovitza, the scientist that gave the world a new science, Speleology. I knew very little about Slovenia, Postojna Cave being one of the highlights.
What I discovered, impacted me for ever – a country with borders on karst, that made and makes all the efforts to preserve it, that had national programmes for cleaning caves, because their water supply come exclusively from the underground karst waters, that uses old, existing infrastructure to monitor the quality of water, while building new one side by side with the scientific staff from The Karst Research Institute, that has one of the biggest caves from Europe, Postojna, that is monitored for more than 200 years, the home of the mysterious Proteus anguinus.
The entire week spent in Slovenia was supervised by Dr. Tanja Pipan, whose books and papers on subterranean environments we knew and used in our work. We worked in the field with biologists, geologists and geography specialists from the institute, that showed us their undergoing projects, their field expertise and work protocols. We had the opportunity to sample arthropod fauna from Postojna Cave, visited the Tular Laboratory where proteus is studied, went in the deepest canyon from Europe, Škocjan”.