UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis

A Karst Waters Institute Symposium on
Carbon and Boundaries in Karst

January 7 to 11, 2013
Carlsbad, New Mexico

Co-sponsored by the National Cave and Karst Research Institute


There is growing interest in the dynamics of both inorganic and organic carbon in karst systems, and especially in the flux of carbon and nutrients between the surface and subsurface and between different components in the karst subsurface. This symposium is about these and other questions connected to carbon in karst and boundaries in karst. It is especially timely both because of rapid advances in the field and the importance of carbon sequestration in global climate change The symposium will highlight recent advances in biology, geology, and hydrology that are helping us understand the dynamics of karst ecosystems, especially with respect to carbon. There will be both invited lectures and contributed posters covering the following topics: The Upper Boundary — Epikarst The Lower Boundary — Phreatic Zone Lateral Inputs — Insurgences Lateral Outputs — Resurgences CO2 — Processing and Storage Organic Carbon — Sources and Quality Synthesis and Large Scale Models.

As is the tradition with KWI meetings, the symposium will be aggressively interdisciplinary and international. More information about KWI and past meetings can be found here

Scientific Program

Two distinguished scientists will give plenary lectures to set the framework for the meeting:

  • Dr. Jack Stanford, Director of the Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana, one of the discoverers of the hyporheic zone, and co-editor of the “bible” of groundwater ecology, aptly titled Groundwater Ecology.
  • Dr. John L. Wilson, Professor of Hydrology at New Mexico Tech, a leading expert on stream-aquifer interactions and the movement of materials through groundwater.

Two distinguished karst scientists will give a first-of-its-kind joint summary of the meeting:

  • Dr. Derek C. Ford, Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University and co-author of one of the two leading books on physical aspects of karst, Karst Hydrogeology and Geomorphology
  • Dr. William B. White, Professor of Geosciences at The Pennsylvania State University and co-author of the other leading book on physical aspects of karst, Geomorphology and Hydrology of Karst Terrains.

There will be seven thematic sessions with invited speakers. The program is being developed by the program chair, Dr. Daniel W. Fong:

  • The Upper Boundary, convened by Dr. Tanja Pipan, Karst Research Institute at ZRC-SAZU, Postojna, Slovenia. Confirmed speakers include Fengmei Ban (Shanxi University, China),Janja Kogovšek (Karst Research Institute, Slovenia), and Ioana Meleg (Emil Racoviţǎ Institute of Speleology, Romania)
  • The Lower Boundary, convened by Dr. Franci Gabrovšek, Karst Research Institute at ZRC-SAZU, Postojna, Slovenia. Confirmed speakers include David C. Culver (American University), Pierre-Yves Jeannin (Swiss Institute of Speleology, Switzerland), Jonathan Martin (University of Florida), and George Veni (National Cave and Karst Research Institute).
  • Lateral Inputs, convened by Dr. Kevin Simon, The University of Auckland, New Zealand. Confirmed speakers include Jonathan Harding (University of Canterbury, New Zealand) and Michael Vernasky (University of Alabama)
  • Lateral Outputs, convened by Dr. Carol Wicks, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University. Confirmed speakers include Matthew Covington (University of Arkansas), Cene Fišer (University of Ljubljana,
  • Slovenia), Daniel Fong (American University), Neven Kresic (AMEC Environment and Infrastructure)
  • CO2, convened by Dr. Janet Herman, Department of Environmental Science, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Confirmed speakers include Daniel Kowalczk (Florida State University) and Daoxian Yuan (Guangxi University, China)
  • Organic Carbon, convened by Dr. Annette Summers Engel, Department of Geosciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee. Confirmed speakers include Penny Boston (New Mexico Tech) and Christian Griebler (Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, Germany).
  • Synthesis, convened by Dr. Daniel W. Fong, Department of Biology, American University, Washington, D.C. Confirmed speakers include Diana Northup (University of New Mexico), Kevin Simon (University of Auckland, New Zealand), and Carol Wicks (Louisiana State University).

A few slots are still available for oral presentations. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if interested.

Poster Sessions

In addition to the invited sessions, there will be two evening poster sessions. Contributions on all topics related to carbon and boundaries in karst are welcome. Each attendee may present up to three posters. Maximum poster size is 120 cm (4 feet) by 90 cm (3 feet). Abstracts of posters may also be submitted for publication in the conference program. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The meeting will be co-sponsored by and held at the new headquarters of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute.  The goals of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute are to:

  • Advance cave and karst science by conducting, coordinating, and facilitating research.
  • Serve as a repository for and provide analysis and synthesis of speleological (cave related) information.
  • Foster partnerships and cooperation in cave and karst research, education, and management programs.
  • Promote and conduct cave and karst educational programs.
  • Promote national and international cooperative programs that further cave and karst research, education, and stewardship.
  • Develop and promote environmentally sound and sustainable cave and karst management practices.

The meeting site is close not only to Carlsbad Caverns National Park but also Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and makes an ideal starting place for a visit to the many parks and features of the U.S. desert southwest. Participants will be housed in nearby hotels in Carlsbad.

The nearest major airport is El Paso, Texas, approximately 2.5 hours from Carlsbad. Shuttle buses to and from the El Paso airport will be available on January 6 and 12 for a cost of $50 one way. Smaller airports are located in Hobbs and Roswell, New Mexico, about 1 hour’s drive from Carlsbad. Rental cars are available at all airports. There is an U.S. Immigration and Naturalization checkpoint between El Paso and Carlsbad, so be sure to have identification with you.

Mid-Conference Excursion

On Wednesday, January 9, we will have an all day excursion to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, a World Heritage Site, for a tour of Carlsbad Caverns and either a hike in Slaughter Canyon or a tour of Slaughter Canyon Cave. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of three national parks developed around a cave, the other two being Wind Cave and Mammoth Cave. Carlsbad Caverns is specially known for the beauty and extent of its formations, and the large flights of Mexican free-tailed bats that occur in the summer. The park contains excellent examples of southwestern American desert landscape as well.

Post-Conference Excursion

Plans are in the works to offer a post-conference excursion to Grand Canyon National Park, with a return to the El Paso airport on Friday, January 20.

Post-Conference Publication

All participants will be invited to submit a paper, due at the end of the conference, January 11, 2013. The paper must be in accordance with the style requirements of Acta Carsologica. Detailed information on style requirements can be found here. Each paper will be limited to 5000 words and 8 tables/figures, without prior arrangement with the editor. Review papers are especially welcome. Papers that do not follow the style guidelines will be returned without review. All papers will be subject to peer review and submission does not guarantee publication. In a few exceptional cases, papers based on a poster will be considered for publication in the special issue of Acta Carsologica. There will be a two-step acceptance procedure. It first must be accepted by the Special Editor (David Culver) and then by the journal editor (Franci Gabrovšek). For further information This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The anticipated publication date is October, 2013.

Registration Information

Registration fee for the meeting will be $500 ($300 for students), which includes all lunches, a Monday evening reception, a Friday banquet, and the Wednesday excursion to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Participants will also be provided with the special issue of Acta Carsologica. The program and book of abstracts will be made available to participants on a digital memory stick at the registration desk. Additional fees will be charged for airport transportation and the post-conference excursion. Housing is not included, and information on local motels and rates will be provided in the third circular.


  • June 1, 2012—online registration opens
  • November 1, 2012—abstracts due
  • December 1, 2012—registration closes. Late registration fees will be $600 ($400 for students).