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Dr. Thomas M. Iliffe
Department of Marine Biology
Texas A&M University at Galveston
Galveston, TX 77553-1675, USA
e-mail: iliffe@cavebiology.com


    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 Ecology.

    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).