Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Karst research

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.12.00  Humanities  Geography   

Code Science Field
P005  Natural sciences and mathematics  Geology, physical geography 
karst, karstology, study of carbonate rocks, karst surface, karst caves and water, ecology, natural heritage, history of karstology, karst terminology, planning of life on karst, karstology teaching
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (15)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  16180  PhD Franci Gabrovšek  Mechanics  Researcher  2004 - 2008  450 
2.  11067  PhD Martin Knez  Geography  Researcher  2004 - 2008  697 
3.  00986  PhD Andrej Kranjc  Geography  Researcher  2004 - 2008  1,432 
4.  09652  PhD Andrej Mihevc  Geography  Researcher  2004 - 2008  794 
5.  20220  PhD Janez Mulec  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  481 
6.  14851  PhD Bojan Otoničar  Geology  Researcher  2008  256 
7.  12605  PhD Metka Petrič  Geology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  525 
8.  15687  PhD Tanja Pipan  Natural sciences and mathematics  Researcher  2004 - 2008  385 
9.  25648  PhD Mitja Prelovšek  Geography  Junior researcher  2005 - 2008  258 
10.  08099  PhD Tadej Slabe  Geography  Head  2004 - 2008  683 
11.  18811  Sonja Stamenković    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
12.  10443  PhD Stanka Šebela  Geology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  520 
13.  27508  PhD Janez Turk  Civil engineering  Junior researcher  2006 - 2008  206 
14.  22574  PhD Nataša Viršek Ravbar  Geography  Junior researcher  2004 - 2007  475 
15.  01004  PhD Nadja Zupan Hajna  Geography  Researcher  2004 - 2008  482 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,024 
The basic knowledge on karst is continuously deepened as this enriches the understanding of our natural heritage and enables the reasonable planning of life in this sensitive landscape. At the same time this is the basis for high school teaching. The multidisciplinary structure of the research team (geographers, geologists, chemist, biologist, microbiologist, physicist and now also karstologists) connected with other Slovene and foreign institutions and our position in the international karstological circles place our Institute on a firm basis. The only way to understand the karst is to use various approaches and synthesize them into a whole. Due to the special features of soluble carbonates, the impact of various limestones and dolomites on the karstification and formation of the karst surface and caves will be examined from the lithopetrologic and stratigraphic points of view. Development of the karst surface and subsurface forms also depends on geologic structural characteristics . We will carry out a detailed tectonic and geologic mapping of the karst and relate its development with the geologic structure. One of the major areas of our work is also research of the formation of the karst underground and surface, both of which are connected in terms of space and development. We will strive to gain knowledge and develop methods of research which will enable the explanation of the age and development of surface and subsurface relief forms incorporated in the whole environment. We will proceed with the study of cave and surface sediments. The disintegration of limestone and dolomite in caves as well as the crystallisation of stalactites will be examined. Due to the heterogeneity of the karst, there are many open questions on the characteristics of the flowing and storing of water as well as of transport of substances. At the selected testing ground the hydrogeological features will be determined, appropriate indices will be measured and conclusions will be made regarding the characteristics of hydrodynamic functioning of the karst water system. Research into the karst water flows is the basis for good planning of the living environment in the karst region. Therefore, the burdening and vulnerability of the karst water flows as well as their self-purification ability will be defined. The knowledge gained will serve as the basis for appropriate protection. Understanding the processes of dissolution and transport of substances in the karst system is one of the basic interests of the karst scientists. The process is observed through measurements and monitoring while the numerical model of development dynamics of the karst water flows and karst surface forms will enable a more profound understanding. Slovenia is one of the richest areas of stygobionts in the world. We will sample the epikarst fauna. We hope to discover several species which have not yet been described and thus prove the significant importance of the epikarst water habitats for the hypogean fauna of the karst natural environment. The algae in the karst caves have not yet been examined thoroughly yet. We will evaluate and compare the species composition of algae in various caves. The history of karst science and speleology as well as the karst terminology will be examined. The findings of Slovenian and foreign karst scientists will be collected in our internationally recognized journal "Acta carsologica". Together with the Speleological Association of Slovenia, we will keep the register of caves. Data on 8,000 caves have been collected so far. We will continue with acquisition of the recognizsed library on karst science. The acquired knowledge will be used as the basis for planning in this specific landscape and teaching on the karst. We will continue to organise the International School of Karst Science :Classic Karst - and continue with the post-graduate curriculum at our School of Karst Science which operates within the Polytechnic in Nova Gorica.
Significance for science
By interdisciplinary basic researches we cover the most important fields of karstology (karst geology, geomorphology, speleology, hydrogeology, biology, microbiology and ecology, study of age of karst phenomena and development of karst regions, history of karstology and speleology) and we set forth the directions of integral karstology. By a methodological approach to karst research as integrity and by the acquired results we importantly contribute both to karstology and other branches of science development. We use and develop the existing research methods and introduce new ones. All over the world the karstologists within different research and study institutions develop particular topics of karstology. However, we endeavour to evolve these fields by linking them into an entirety. Morphological study of roofless caves and their sediments allowed a more precise definition of time of single stages of the karst evolution. Geomorphologic study of karst surface compared to underground relief features presents a new methodological approach to karst studies. By comparing larger relief features and complexes we perceive external influences (tectonic displacements, climate changes) and we evaluate them accordingly and determine them in time. Caves represent the basic characteristics of karst and a specific sedimentation space providing the elementary data on development and function of a particular karst region. We morphologically and genetically classify the caves. By cave sediment analyses we precisely define tectonic and geomorphologic phases of the surface development. We are studying climatically generated changes in the morphology of cave sediments and in cave climate, in particular in caves with ice. Sediment researches bring new cognitions about the age of the sediments either in caves or on the karst surface. In such a way we complete the information concerning karst genesis in Slovenia and this is important for both Slovenia and international scientific spheres. Stating the relations and influences between the seismic activity and active tectonic micro displacements in karst caves is extremely important for a long-term understanding how tectonic tensions in karst massifs are changing, and indirectly how this understanding helps to ascertain the stability of karst caves. Laboratory modelling in plaster of Paris gives an opportunity to understand the formation of caves and karst surface by different processes in different conditions. By studying large calcite crystals deposited from hydrothermal dissolution in some caves we check the hypothesis whether the cave developed in two stages, when the hypogene beginning was followed by karst waters or the meteoric waters just used the pre-existing passages. Use of different research methods at the same time, long lasting field observations with continuous measurements of various parameters in different hydrological zones and supplementing the natural parameters by water tracing with artificial tracers present an innovative and also in international scale an interesting approach to study the properties of water percolation and transport of substances in karst aquifer systems. The results are used during the process of checking and development of methodology of vulnerability mapping and potential threat to karst aquifers. Progress and use of numerical models is another innovative approach to study karst processes. Development and use of already existing models and introducing new model approaches promise to give the answers to numerous not yet solved questions connected to development and function of karst underground and surface. We expand the knowledge and data bases about the biodiversity on karst. The results are not important only for the registration of natural values in Slovenia but they will mean an important step forward at studying and evaluation of the extreme ecosystems. We complete the knowledge about the ecological interactions and properties of underground habitats.
Significance for the country
We studied our rich karst natural and cultural heritage and prepare the starting points for its development and protection. The results of basic researches are not only basisfor planning the life in vulnerable karst landscape and for its protection but also for high-school teaching of karstology. A fast social-economic development requires improving and attention of a holistic development vision of karst and always increasing demand for our knowledge and our cooperation at the progress planning and land use. Integral judgement of the characteristics of karst heritage is fundamental for preservation of superficial karst phenomena and caves, water supply and its protection, planning of waste disposal sites, planning and construction of roads and railroads, for safeguarding the biological diversity, planning and sustainable use of karst phenomena for tourist purposes. By cooperation with experts from other fields we develop new methods and practices at planning and construction of new roads and other objects on karst and providing water supply. A part of our results was published in a book Karst phenomena discovered at the construction of the Slovene motorways. An excellent knowledge of karst enables the cooperation at the EU project Centre of Excellence KRAS: Sustainable Development of the Karst Region. We are an authorized institution for management of the Cave Register and this is the foundation for the legal cave protection. By Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and various international associations (UNESCO, International Union for Conservation of Nature) we are preparing the professional bases and environmental impact assessment due to interventions and we take part at the selection of natural heritage sites to be listed at UNESCO. We take part at starting points for the protection of water and water supply. We cooperate at karst phenomena management for tourist purposes (Postojnska Jama, Park Škocjanske Jame, Cave Tien Duong, Vietnam, Mushroom Mountain, China). With the administration of the Turizem KRAS we have signed a contract about professional trusteeship over Postojnska jama. We promote an integral post-graduate study of karstology, the first and unique in the world. The study works under the patronage of our post-graduate school Karstology and is part of the University in Nova Gorica. 15 students from 8 countries are preparing their doctorate theses. We took part at preparing the syllabuses of the Slovene faculties and of graduate study Geography at the Faculty of Humanities, University in Koper developing and performing the module Kras. Our International Karstological School Classical Karst, being the largest annual international meeting of karstologists since 1993 is also a European project within the 6th FP. Karstological library, one of the best within the international range, is part of the public libraries union. The library offers an access to the international karstological knowledge. We consolidate the importance of Slovenia as the country of classical Karst having one of the longest and the richest traditions in karstology. This is provided by good research, teaching about karst and direct international connections with karstologists (International Karstological School and other scientific meetings). Numerous international projects and personal contacts open an access to most of karstological material and knowledge and possibilities to research in most of the karst regions. By the Karst Waters Institute of the U.S.A. we have organized an international meeting dedicated to Time in Karst and together with American karstologists and biologists (American Scientific Foundation) a work-shop about long-term ecological investigations on karst. Our scientific journal Acta carsologica obtained the international citation index (SCI). We succeed to successfully implement the institute as one of the most important international research and study karstological centres.
Most important scientific results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
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