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00000174-b11b-ddc3-a1fc-bfdbb1d30001HearSA is an online audio archive of public programming intended to foster discussion and enhance awareness of informative local presentations and events. The archive includes lectures, panel discussions, book readings, and more. The opinions presented in these programs are those of the author or presenter, not Texas Public Radio or any of its stations, and are not necessarily endorsed by TPR.

Mysterious Creatures: Exploring The Depths Of Our Karst Aquifers

Ryan Hagerty
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Barton Springs Salamander (Eurycea sosorum)

“These ecosystems harbor some really amazing species,” said Dr. Ben Hutchins at the most recent Texas Water Symposium forum on Wednesday, November 13 at Schreiner University in Kerrville.

Referencing the plethora of creatures that reside within Texas’ karst aquifers, Hutchins continued, “A lot of these are crustaceans; you may be familiar with shrimp, but relatively few people have seen a Texas Blind Cave Shrimp. These species occur sometimes at great depths. We have records from close to 2,000 feet under the surface. And because they live in such an unusual environment, they have a host of unusual adaptations. They’re really ideal models to study adaptation and evolution.”

The biggest threats to these species’ survival? “Water quality and water quantity,” answered Liza Colucci, Project Manager with ZARA Environmental.  

This edition of the Texas Water Symposium examines the role aquifers play in providing our drinking water and allowing for the irrigation of area pastures, farms, and vineyards.

Listen in as the panel explores the mysterious biological world of deep aquifer life and the aquatic conditions required to maintain safe habitat for them — and for us.


Credit Nathan Cone / TPR
L to R: Dr. Robert Gulley J.D., Andrew G. Gluesenkamp, Chad Norris, Liza Colucci, Dr. Ben Hutchins.

Dr. Robert Gulley J.D. — Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Retired


  • Chad Norris: Aquatic Biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • Andrew G. Gluesenkamp: Director of Conservation, Center for Conservation and Research, San Antonio Zoo
  • Liza Colucci: Project Manager/Biologist, ZARA Environmental
  • Ben Hutchins Ph.D.: Assistant Director, Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center

The Texas Water Symposium is a joint project of the Hill Country Alliance, Texas Tech University, Schreiner University, and Texas Public Radio.

Water, essential for life, is our most precious and valuable natural resource, but water supply is limited and under increasing pressure from a growing population. How will we protect this resource and plan for a sustainable future? There is a great need for a water-literate public; decisions being made today have far reaching and long lasting effects for our children and future generations.