‘An unexplored world right beneath our feet:’ Cave ecologist on the importance of caves in discussions on conservation, caves on other planets

Jut Wynne, director of NAU’s Cave Ecology Lab, talks about cave health all the time. But during 2021, the International Year of Caves and Karst, he and other researchers are inviting the rest of us to consider all the ways these ecosystems contribute to society without us even knowing it.

Boo! How Do Mexican Cavefish Escape Predators?

When startled, do all fish respond the same way? A few fish, like Mexican cavefish, have evolved in unique environments without any predators. To see how this lack of predation impacts escape responses that are highly stereotyped across fish species, scientists explored this tiny fish to determine if there are evolved differences in them. Findings reveal that the dramatic ecological differences between cave and river environments contribute to differences in escape behavior in blind cavefish and river-dwelling surface cavefish.