Final report on the CEPF project „A survey of the Proteus anguinus by environmental DNA sampling“

News from Slovenia


Members of Society for Cave biology from Slovenia, led by Gregor Aljančić, are implementing a research project on proteus using molecular methods in the key fields of CEPF areas in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The full title of the project is „A survey of the distribution of Proteus anguinus by environmental DNA sampling“. The results of the project are shown on Map. 1.


Three workshops were organized within the project in which the importance of karst systems was debated and the influence of seasonal floods in karst fields on Proteus.

The goals of CEPF project were to establish sustainable management of water basins and smart use of water resources with special attention on priority corridors in the southwest Balkan area. Furthermore, the goal was to establish new protected areas, and raise awareness on priority biodiversity areas.



1.) Research on Proteus anguinus distribution in three priority key CEPF biodiversity areas and neighboring regions. The „environmental DNA“research method was used through the project, which was conducted in three CEPF areas: tributaries of Trebižat river, Hutovo Blato (Eastern Adriatic corridor) and Skandarsko lake (Southwest Balkan corridor of Montenegro). New sites were found for proteus, which doubled the number of findings on the river Trebižat and Hutovo Blato areas. Proteus was not confirmed on Skandarsko lake, however the results point to a possible site in Grahovo polje (Šanik spring).

2.) Long-term protection of underground karstic ecosystems is proposed through education and promotion. With that purpose a educational board was posted in Vitrina (Bosnia) which shows the biodiversity of Trebižat river with the explanation of the importance of proteus and underground habitat protection.

3.) The establishment of cross-border alliance of countries that are connected by underground areas inhabited by Proteus is proposed.


The primary negative anthropogenic influences on the unique karstic ecosystems of Trebižat river and Hutovo Blato sites are: hydropower plants on Trebižat river (5 small hydropower plants – MHE Modro oko, Klokun, Koćuša, Kravica and Stublica), hydropower plant in Hutovo Blato area (HE Čapljina), intensive agriculture, tourism, fish farms, land amelioration...


The whole report can be found at the link:




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