On 18th-20th March 2022 members of SubBioLab and CKS held a student workshop in Trebinje, where the participants learned about sampling techniques used in investigating life in subterranean habitats. There were 19 participants from different universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who were taken to two caves and a few springs in Popovo polje and within the city of Trebinje. Some of the students were in a cave for the first time so this turned into a very unique experience. We demonstrated different sampling techniques and presented diverse animal species living in caves. We were kindly greeted by Nikša Vuletić from PE Vjetrenica, who took us to their museum on speleobiology, and presented their work in educating visitors about the importance and protection of Vjetrenica cave and its surroundings.
The following day, the students checked the samples from caves and springs under stereo microscopes, where they learned about post field work sample management and performed basic taxa discrimination. At the end, students, working in separate groups, presented the results from various localities and discussed the differences between sampling sites. We discussed the necessity of conducting fieldwork sampling, possibilities for further analysis of samples and the role of researchers and students in efforts to protect subterranean habitats and their biodiversity for future generations.
The workshop gave the students an insight into practical knowledge, but hopefully also new friendships, motivation and inspiration for new research and conservation challenges, hopefully also in subterranean biodiversity.