Tom Iliffe was born in Erie, Pennsylvania. He earned degrees in
Biochemistry and Oceanography at Penn State, Florida State and the
University of Texas Medical Branch. Prior to coming to Texas A&M University
at Galveston, Tom worked for 11 years as a Research Scientist at the Bermuda
Biological Station. It was in Bermuda that he became interested in marine
cave biology. On this relatively small, low lying island, all its numerous
limestone caves are close to the sea. In their interior, these caves contain
tidal, saltwater pools inhabited by a great variety of crustaceans and other
marine animals that are found only in this environment. Diving explorations
of Bermuda caves resulted in the discovery of more than 200 species, 70 of
which were new to science. Tom has led many expeditions worldwide to study
and collect animals from underwater caves. Tom is currently a
Professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston where he
teaches courses in Biospeleology, Scientific Diving and Tropical Marine
Research Interests: Biodiversity, biogeography, evolution and
ecology of animals inhabiting anchialine caves; cave conservation and
environmental protection; cave and research diving.
Geographic areas of interest: Bermuda, Bahamas, Belize, Mexico,
Jamaica, Canary Islands, Iceland, Mallorca, Romania, Czechoslovakia,
Galapagos, Hawaii, Guam, Palau, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, Western
Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, New Zealand,
Australia, Philippines, China and Thailand.
Scientific Discoveries: Discovered more than 250 new species of
marine and freshwater cavernicolous invertebrates including 3 new orders (of
Peracarida and Copepoda), 7 new families (of Isopoda, Ostracoda, Caridea and
Calanoida) and 50 new genera (of Caridea, Brachyura, Ostracoda, Remipedia,
Amphipoda, Isopoda, Mysidacea, Thermosbaenacea, Leptostraca, Calanoida,
Misophrioida and Polychaeta).
Publications: Published 160
scientific papers, most of which concern marine cave studies. First author on
papers in Science and Nature, in addition to invited book
chapters on the anchialine cave fauna of Bermuda, Bahamas, Yucatan Peninsula
of Mexico, Galapagos, Tonga, Niue and Western Samoa.
Diving: Graduate of US Navy Scientist In The Sea Program (1975);
Diving Instructor (#4144) with National Association of Underwater
Instructors (NAUI); Cave Diving Instructor (#156) with the National
Speleological Society Cave Diving Section (NSS/CDS).
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