new council

new council

A new council was constituted during the General Assembly on 21 July 2022 in Cluj, Romania. The Council appointed board members as follows (2022-2024):

Maria Elina Bichuette / President

Mattia Saccò / Vice-President

Stefano Mammola / Vice-President

Susanne Schmidt / Secretary

Ana Komerički / Treasurer

Further members of the ISSB Council are: Traian Brad, Enrico Lunghi, and Alberto Sendra.

Jean-Jacques Geoffroy (France) is appointed as manager of the Library at Brunoy (France)

Ana Sofia Reboleira (Portugal) is appointed as ISSB webmaster.


Profiles of the new Council members:

Maria Elina Bichuette – President

Maria Elina Bichuette is a biologist and Associate Professor of Zoology and Ecology at Federal University of São Carlos/UFSCar, Brazil, with a PhD in Zoology. She is coordinator of the Laboratory of Subterranean Studies/LES. Her work has focused evolution, ecology, and behavior of Brazilian Subterranean Fauna. Her projects are applied to actions for cave conservation. She is part of the IUCN SSC networks, Cave Invertebrate Specialist Group – which focuses on the conservation of subterranean invertebrate species, and Brazilian speleological clubs/NGOs (Bambuí Speleological Group/GBPE and Brazilian Institute of Subterranean Studies /IBES), besides scientific societies (Brazilian Society of Zoology/SBZ, Ichthyology/SBI, and Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science/SBPC).


Webpage:;; Instagram: @les_ufscar

Stefano Mammola – Vice President

Stefano Mammola is a researcher at the National Research Council of Italy, with a PhD in Ecology. He is also associated researcher at the Finnish Museum of Natural History. His scientific activity primarily focuses on subterranean biology, ecology, conservation biology, arachnology, and scientometrics (“science of science”). Concerning subterranean biology, he mostly focuses on the impact of climate change underground, the conservation of subterranean ecosystems, and the use of caves as simplified model systems to test ecological theory. Sides line of research revolve around the taxonomy of cave spiders.


Personal webpage:

Mattia Saccò – Vice President

Mattia Saccò is a Research Associate at the Trace and Environmental DNA (TrEnD, @Curtin_TrEnD) Laboratory, and he is the leader of the Subterranean Research and Groundwater Ecology (SuRGE, @surge_group) Group at Curtin University (Perth, Western Australia). His research focuses on functional ecology of aquatic environments, including groundwater and groundwater dependent ecosystems. He is particularly interested in investigating diversity, food webs, energy flows and ecological niche interactions underground through molecular (e.g., environmental DNA, functional genomics) and biogeochemical approaches (e.g., stable isotope analysis, carbon and nitrogen tracking) both at local and global scales.



Susanne Schmidt- 1st Secretary

Susanne Schmidt is a senior researcher, with a PhD in Hydrobiology. Her work has focused mostly on groundwater and river ecosystems. She has studied groundwater/surface water interactions and their impact on sediment fauna. Because this raised more basic questions than got answered, she started modelling the food source, i.e., pore-scale groundwater microbial degradation. In November 2021, she joined the Lake Research Department at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ in Magdeburg, Germany, for a project on evaluating water quality and surface area by remote sensing.



Ana Komerički – Treasurer

Ana Komericki is a researcher and member at the Croatian Biospeleological Society. Her work focuses on cave biodiversity and conservation, along with taxonomy and ecology of cave dwelling centipedes (Chilopoda). She is an active member of the IUCN SSC Cave Invertebrate Specialist Group – which focuses on the conservation of subterranean invertebrates.



Enrico Lunghi – Council Member

Enrico Lunghi is an assistant Professor in Zoology at Università degli Studi dell’Aquila, Italy, with a PhD in Natural Sciences. He had multiple international experiences, working in Italy, Germany, China and Croatia. His research mainly focuses on the ecology, behavior, and conservation of subterranean species, including both vertebrate and invertebrate species. His best model species are the European cave salamanders, the only plethodontids present in Europe. He uses these salamanders also as model species to test different methodologies for data collection and to answer macroecological questions. Furthermore, he aims to develop sustainable sampling methods that limits impacts on wild species.



Traian Brad – Council Member

Traian is a senior researcher at the Institute of Speleology “Emil Racoviţă” in Cluj, Romania. His research interests are in the area of groundwater ecology. Traian’s expertise is in microbial ecology in relation to groundwater pollution and bioremediation. His research looked especially upon the potential of the groundwater ecosystem to attenuate the man derived pollution on natural means in various settings, from sandy to karst aquifers. Traian is also a taxonomist. He works with groundwater amphipods (Crustacea), using classical descriptions based on morphological characters, but also molecular biology tools, such as sequencing and analyzing various phylogenetic markers.


Web page:

Alberto Sendra – Council Member

Alberto Sendra is Associate Professor and researcher at the Ajuntament de València, in Spain.

His skills are related to Taxonomy of Diplura, Phylogeography, Biodiversity & Conservation, Soil Ecology.





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