Meet the scientists
by David Gallegos, Spring 2005.

Dr. Diana E. Northup (Geomicrobiologist)

Dr. Penelope Boston (Geomicrobiologist)

Dr. Leslie Melim (Geologist)

Dr. Kathleen Lavoie (Microbial Ecologist)

Dr. Louise Hose (Geologist)

These five scientists love exploring caves. They study caves with the SLIME team. SLIME stands for Subsurface Life in Mineral Environments. In caves, the SLIME team looks at the interaction between minerals and the tiny bacteria and microbes you can only see under a powerful electron microscope. They discovered that critters like spiders, fish, and bats live in harsh cave environments, like the "Villa Luz." These caves environments are sometimes extremely dangerous for people, but that doesn't stop these explorers!

Louise says she "loves exploration and going into caves where nobody has ever been before." She says that it is exciting and sometimes even dangerous! Penny says that "Caves are a lot like different planets." Kathie is fascinated with cave research because she gets to see some really cool stuff like snot-looking slime from bacteria on the walls that grow right before her eyes! Leslie studies caves because she enjoys figuring out stuff that other people haven't figured out before.

Let's follow our guides into the first cave, Lechuguilla Cave.

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