During September 2008 through June 2011, we compiled a biological inventory of Meacham Cave in Independence County, AR. Compared to other caves in the region, Meacham Cave houses few vertebrates, but non-aquatic invertebrates were relatively common. A transiently-increased bacterial load in the cave’s only pool of water indicated recent fecal contamination. The combination of vandalism, low vertebrate populations, and high coliform bacterial load reveals that human abuse of the cave has significantly disrupted its ecosystem. Gating the cave in such a way as to allow the movement of bats, salamanders and other animals, while excluding humans, may allow the cave ecosystem to recover. The close proximity of the cave to Lyon College makes it ideal for long-term investigation.
Thomas, D. J.; Boyd, M.; Crowell, K. M.; Curtwright, A. E.; Foll, M. N.; Kuehl, M. M.; McQueen, V. M.; Middaugh, C. R.; Moore, V. M.; Moreno, M.; Morgan, C.; Powers, M.; Robinson, G.; Schram, M. D.; Ward, K.; and Ong, H. C.
"A Biological Inventory of Meacham Cave (Independence County, Arkansas),"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 65
, Article 18.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol65/iss1/18