Tular Cave Laboratory

Society for Cave Biology: Tular Cave Laboratory


Society for Cave Biology – Tular Cave laboratory joined LifeWatch Slovenia in 2017 and it contributes to LifeWatch ERIC through its National Distributed Centre


The Society for Cave Biology [Slovene: Društvo za jamsko biologijo] is a NGO founded in 2002 in Kranj, Slovenia, with its principal mission to support and carry on the long-term research and conservation program of the Tular Cave Laboratory. The laboratory was built in 1960, and reorganized into a constituent body of the SCB in 2002. Beside the Subterranean Laboratory CNRS in Moulis (France), Tular is the only cave laboratory specialised in studying proteus, with successful long-term ex situ breeding of this endangered cave amphibian.

The ecology and behaviour of proteus are studied by observation, both in captivity at the Tular Cave and in its natural habitat. Many of these studies are an important framework for understanding vertebrate adaptations to cave life. The laboratory developed cutting edge methods to bypass the inaccessibility of the karst groundwater habitat of proteus, such as pioneer tracing of proteus environmental DNA in groundwater, infrared video monitoring of proteus behaviour, or public education on these sensitive animals. Such studies may also help to save this unique species in future. Namely, proteus is threatened mostly by increasing pollution of groundwater, which is, together with nonkarstic reserves, serving nearly all drinking water in Slovenia, whereas about 75% of EU residents depend on groundwater for their water supply.

To raise scientific attention on conservation of proteus and groundwater ecosystems, the Tular Cave Laboratory organizes the biennial International meetings SOS Proteus, building a network of experts on proteus, speleobiology, karstology, herpetology, conservation and public outreach, shearing their experiences, new methods and solutions. One of the goals only started to approach, is to advance in data management, through multidisciplinary and trans-national research and conservation of cave biodiversity (worldwide symbolised by Proteus), with data access in European Research Area following FAIR principles.



Society for Cave Biology – Tular Cave Laboratory was not an official partner in the RI-SI-LifeWatch project. The Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU decided to support also other partners ideas for new projects within LifeWatch Slovenia consortium. RI-SI-LifeWatch equipment presented here was purchased by Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU at the suggestion of Society for Cave Biology – Tular Cave Laboratory to be used mainly for the two virtual laboratories that are in progress to be arranged ProteusWatch vlab and for the Karst Groundwater Habitats.


Society for Cave Biology: Tular Cave Laboratory is also a partner in the LTER Slovenia consortium and active collaborating in two subsidiars projects: SoilBON (https://monitor.soilbon.org/) and eLTER RA project: water eDNA sampling



ALJANČIČ, Gregor, MACHIDON, Octavian-Mihai, ALJANČIČ, Magdalena, MACHIDON, Alina Luminita, PIPAN, Tanja. Challenges and preliminary results in building virtual laboratories to monitor Proteus anguinus and its karst groundwater habitat. In: The LifeWatch ERIC Biodiversity & Ecosystem eScience Conference: threats and challenges to biodiversity and ecosystem conservation from an eScience perspective: Seville, 22-24 May 2023: abstract book. [S. l.]: LifeWatch ERIC, 2023. Str. 27. https://www.lifewatch.eu/bees-2023/abstract-book-presentations/#flipbook-df_32474/


ALJANČIČ, Magdalena, ALJANČIČ, Gregor, MILOTIĆ, Tanja, MACHIDON, Octavian-Mihai, MACHIDON, Alina Luminita, CASAER, Jim, PIPAN, Tanja. Karst groundwater biodiversity and habitats : building in-situ virtual laboratories to assess the ecology of Proteus anguinus and its subterranean habitat throughout data platforms. In: ŠVARA, Astrid (ed.), ZUPAN HAJNA, Nadja (ed.), GABROVŠEK, Franci (ed.). Speleology : 29th International Karstological School Classical Karst : abstracts & guide book. Postojna, 2022. 1st ed. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, 2022. Str. 118. ISBN 978-961-05-0649-2. [COBISS.SI-ID 113262595]

ALJANČIČ, Gregor, ALJANČIČ, Magdalena, MILOTIĆ, Tanja, MACHIDON, Octavian-Mihai, MACHIDON, Alina Luminila, CASAER, Jim, PIPAN, Tanja. Building virtual laboratories to monitor Proteus and its karst groundwater habitat. V: ALJANČIČ, Gregor (ur.), et al. 4th International Meeting SOS Proteus : conservation of Proteus and its habitat facing climate change challenges : 2022, 21st-22nd May, Museo Civico Storia Naturale, Trieste, Italy : abstract book. Trieste; Kranj: Trieste Natural History Museum [etc.], 2022. Str. 20. http://tular.si/images/pdf/Abstract_Book_SOS_Proteus_2022.pdf.

KENNY, Julian (interviewer), PIPAN, Tanja (interviewee), RAVBAR, Nataša (interviewee), ALJANČIČ, Gregor (interviewee). The underground Karst caves of Postojna. [S. l.]: LifeWatch ERIC, 2022. 1 spletni vir (1 zvočna datoteka (19 min, 44 sek)). A window on science. https://www.buzzsprout.com/1921443/11870793-s3-e10-the-underground-karst-caves-of-postojna.

TESAŘOVÁ, Markéta, MANCINI, Lucia, MAURI, Edgardo, ALJANČIČ, Gregor, ALJANČIČ, Magdalena, KOSTANJŠEK, Rok, BIZJAK-MALI, Lilijana, ZIKMUND, Tomáš, KAUCKÁ, Markéta, PAPI, Federica, GOYENS, Jana, BOUCHNITA, Annas, HELLANDER, Andreas, ADAMEYKO, Igor, KAISER, Jozef. Living in darkness : exploring adaptation of Proteus anguinus in 3 dimensions by X-ray imaging. GigaScience. 5. apr. 2022, vol. 11, art. 30, str. 1-8, ilustr. ISSN 2047-217X. https://academic.oup.com/gigascience/article/doi/10.1093/gigascience/giac030/6562166, DOI: 10.1093/gigascience/giac030