Skip to main content
Antibiotic Resistance and Substrate Utilization by Bacteria Affi liated with Cave Streams at Diff erent Levels of Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave Research Symposia
  • Petra Byl, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Shannon R. Trimboli, Western Kentucky University
  • Rick Toomey, MCICSL, Mammoth Cave National Park, Western Kentucky University
  • Jacob Byl, Vanderbilt University
  • David Solomon, Tennessee State University
  • Tom Byl, Tennessee State University, US Geological Survey (USGS)
Start Date
15-2-2013 2:00 PM
Located in south-central Kentucky, Mammoth Cave is one of the most unique National Parks in the United States. The surface landscape includes complex relationships between the flora and fauna along with human influences. However, the primary ecological focus is concealed below ground. Over four-hundred miles of cave passages, created by fl owing groundwater over millions of years, host a variety of macro and micro organisms. The Green River has cut into the limestone formation over geologic time, creating a complex network of passages that are stacked, one below the other, with the newer levels of cave lying near the bottom. Palmer (2007, 1987) describes 4 main levels of cave passages in the Mammoth Cave system. A detailed discussion of the geology and conditions that formed the cave levels can be found in several reports (Palmer, 1987; Palmer 1989; White and White, 1989; Granger, et al, 2001). Precipitation continues to provide water that traverses from the surface, through the unsaturated vadose levels of the cave, and down to the water table in the lower level. Water enters the cave system through direct recharge at sinkholes and through diff use percolation. The rapid infiltration of stormwater often exceeds the carrying capacity of the upper cave passages and excess water is pushed into void pore-spaces near the top of bedrock. This stored water is slowly released and provides base-fl ow to cave streams that replenish the pools and streams in the lowest level of the cave (Ryan and Meimen, 1996). These perennial cave streams carry many of the organic compounds that provide energy to the cave ecosystem (Barr, 1976).
Citation Information
Petra Byl, Shannon R. Trimboli, Rick Toomey, Jacob Byl, et al.. "Antibiotic Resistance and Substrate Utilization by Bacteria Affi liated with Cave Streams at Diff erent Levels of Mammoth Cave" (2013)
Available at: