Follow Us

Survey & sampling for subterranean fauna

Mesas, West Pilbara. Credit: J Dunlop, DBCA

PROGRAM: Subterranean fauna


Review of survey and sampling protocols for subterranean fauna

Adequate survey is integral to understanding both the species present and to estimate their distribution. However, the fact that these animals live underground creates certain challenges in designing a survey program.

The restricted access to survey locations, often relying on drill holes created for minerals exploration or water supply, and the low capture rate of the animals themselves, means that sampling for subterranean fauna can be relatively inefficient.

A review and refinement of survey and sampling protocols will ensure contemporary approaches are efficient, repeatable and effective to accurately document the subterranean fauna of an area. As a first step, this project will review historical data to better understand sampling efficiency using current approaches.

The main outcome of the project will be information to help identify a consistent sampling strategy that optimises the detection of subterranean fauna species (stygofauna and troglofauna) within a prescribed area. It will also indicate areas of improvement to survey design and guide further research to test new sampling methodologies in the field and laboratory.

WABSI to connect research with end user needs

This project contributes to delivering on focus area 2 in the subterranean fauna research program  (improved sampling and survey protocols to optimise the efficiency of survey and monitoring). While a steering committee will guide the implementation of this program, WABSI will also play an active role to ensure the research meets end user expectations and is adopted for more effective decision making.

Project partners

BHP, Cameco, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto Iron Ore and WABSI.


We seek industry partners that want to invest in leading research that will deliver real world outcomes, increase knowledge and help lift certainty to enable more informed management decisions.

We also invite academic institutions and others to engage with this program.

Email us on

Or, if you would like to learn more: Contact us to see how we can help.

Learn more about our work

Subscribe to new insights and resources

Get in Touch