Leptodirus hochenwartii The Subterranean Biology Lab studies biodiversity in caves and other subterranean habitats. Based at the University of Ljubljana it is part of the long tradition of biospeleology / speleobiology in Slovenia that arose with the first scientific description of a specialized cave creature back in 1832.

Our mission is to study the evolution and functioning of subterranean organisms, and to monitor and conserve their diversity.

Leptodirus hochenwartii (Photo: S. Polak)

Troglocaris anophthalmus (Photo: S. Polak)

Hubelj - Kuhna (Photo: M. Zagmajster)

Niphargus balcanicus (Photo: G. Balasz)

Polina peü (Photo: S. Polak)

Rhinolophus hipposideros (Photo: M. Zagmajster)

Neobisium spelaeum (Photo: S. Polak)

Fieldwork (Photo: Ž. Fišer)

Cave millipede (Photo: S. Polak)

Our mission is to study the evolution and functioning of subterranean organisms, and to monitor and conserve their diversity.

Last news / read more on the news page

Collective field trip – sampling interstitial fauna in an emptied accumulation lake

On 24th and 25th of January, we went on a field trip. Every 20 years, the dam on Soča river is fully opened and accumulation lake emptied for maintenance purposes. We seized the opportunity and sampled intersticial fauna above and below the dam.

Lecture: Conservation genetics of olm (Proteus anguinus)

On Thuesday, 27. 2. 2018, Valerija Zakšek will have a lecture about our research on the conservation genetics of proteus. You are kindy invited to join us at 18:00, at Department of Biology, Večna pot 111, 1000 Ljubljana. Lecture is organised by Society for cave exploration Ljubljana. Read more

Examples of our research / read more on the research page

Convergent divergence

N. balcanicusExtreme habitats do not only direct evolution to convergent, predictable phenotypes, but also show a repeatable pattern of niche diversification within. Classical niche theory best explains morphological diversity among closely related cave species.N. balcanicus

Global and regional biodiversity patterns

Troglocaris The Dinaric Karst supports a uniquely rich assemblage of obligate subterranean fauna. The global hotspot of subterranean biodiversity is - unlike for terrestrial and marine life - outside the tropics.

Cryptic species revealed by phylogeography

MarifugiaRanges of subterranean animals are small and fragmented like their habitat. Same conditions lead to same phenotypes and consequently cryptic species.Marifugia

Contact / drop us a line

- at our email

info (at)

- contact us through snail mail

Subterranean Biology Lab
Department of Biology
Večna pot 111
SI-1000 Ljubljana

- or find us at

WGS X: 14.46950
WGS Y: 46.05125
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