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David Culver Adjunct In Residence Environmental Science

PhD, Biology, Yale University
BA, Biology, Grinnell College

David C. Culver did his undergraduate work at Grinnell College and his PhD at Yale University.The author or editor of five books and over 100 articles, he has studied many aspects of the biology of subterranean animals, especially cave animals.His field sites range from seeps in the George Washington Memorial Parkway to the caves of Slovenia. His most recent book, written with Tanja Pipan, is Biology of Caves and Other Subterranean Habitats, published by Oxford University Press.
See Also
Biology Department
For the Media
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Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

In cooperation with the National Park Service, he studies the distribution and biology of the very strange shrimp-like animals that are unique to seeps in parks in the Washington, D.C. area.  A second area of interest is the distribution of hotspots of subterranean biodiversity world-wide. Finally, he is studying the fauna of superficial subterranean habitats, such as seeps, that have many of the morphological features of cave animals, such as eyelessness and loss of pigment.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Treasurer, Karst Waters Institute (
  • Associate Researcher, Karst Research Institute ZRC-SAZU, Postojna, Slovenia

Professional Presentations

  • New Insights into Subterranean Life: Superficial Subterranean Habitats, presented at biennial meeting of the Society for Subterranean Biology, Fremantle, Australia, September, 2008

Selected Publications

  • Culver, D.C., and W.B. White [eds.].2005.Encyclopedia of Caves.Academic/Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Christman, M.C., D.C. Culver, M. Madden, and D. White. 2005.Patterns of endemism of the eastern North American cave fauna. Journal of Biogeography 32:1441-1452.
  • Culver, D.C., T. Pipan, and S. Gottstein. 2006.Hypotelminorheic—a unqiue freshwater habitat.Subterranean Biology 4:1-8.
  • Culver, D.C., and T. Pipan. 2007.What does the distribution of stygobiotic copepoda (Crustacea) tell us about their age? Acta Carsologica 36:87-92.
  • Pipan, T., and D.C. Culver. 2007.Regional species richness in an obligate subterranean dwelling fauna—epikarst copepods.Journal of Biogeography 34:854-861.
  • Pipan, T., and D.C. Culver. 2007. Copepod distribution as an indicator of epikarst system connectivity.Hydrogeology Journal 15:817-822.
  • Simon, K.S., T. Pipan, and D.C. Culver.2007. A conceptual model of the flow and distribution of organic carbon in caves.Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 69:279-284
  • Zagmajster, M., D.C. Culver, and B. Sket.2008. Species richness patterns of obligate subterranean beetles in a global biodiversity hotspot - effect of scale and sampling intensity.Diversity and Distributions 14:95-105.
  • Culver, D.C. and T. Pipan 2009. Biology of Caves and Other Subterranean Habitats. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • March 2007 to April 2009—Cave Conservancy of the Virginias—“Cave Species Descriptions in the Virginias”
  • June 2007 to June 2009 Maryland/DC Chapter, The Nature Conservancy—“Fauna of Dripping Water in Caves as Monitors of Cave Ecosystem Health”