Final Report for Deep Aquifer Biota Study of the Edwards Aquifer

Author Zara Environmental, LLC
Year 2010
Description Deep-aquifer biota study in five counties of the Edwards Aquifer
Publisher Zara Environmental, LLC
Location Edwards Aquifer, Balcones Fault Zone, San Antonio Segment, Uvalde County, Medina County, Bexar County, Comal County, Hays County
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The Edwards Aquifer, world renowned for its bio diversity, provides habitat to a variety of subterranean aquatic species ranging from blind salamanders to eyeless catfishes to ghost white shrimp. This report describes the results of a study of aquatic animals that reside in the deep zones of the Edwards Aquifer, primarily near the fresh water/saline water interface. Through cooperation with landowners across five counties, biologists from Zara Environmental Inc., sampled 43 wells between 2008 and 2010 for aquifer organisms.

Highlights of the study include:

  • collecting specimens and adding new locality records for both species of blind catfishes, which have not been documented since 1978
  • obtaining samples and coordinating with laboratories to gather the first ever genetic analyses of blind catfish
  • discovering the first deep aquifer Eurycea salamander from Bexar County and providing that material to geneticists and morphologic taxonomists
  • discovering 20 new localities for aquifer crustaceans
  •  documenting an entire order of fauna (Bathynellacea) previously unknown in the Edwards Aquifer; and
  • discovering a species of copepod previously unknown to science, (Diacyclops sp.) from two sites.

In addition, biologists obtained samples that will be used for organic carbon analyses and stable isotope analyses by other researchers. They also developed an in-line sampler design for situations where water delivery from well casing to outlet is in an entirely closed system.