Field of Focus
  • Ecology
  • Systematics
  • Endangered Species
Area of Expertise
Marine Cave Biology; Diving Research
  • Ph.D. University of Texas Medical Branch, TX, USA, 1977
  • M.S. Florida State University, FL, USA, 1973
  • B.S. Penn State University, PA, USA, 1970

Tom Iliffe is a Professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) where he teaches courses in Biospeleology, Scientific Diving and Tropical Marine Ecology. Prior to coming to TAMUG in 1989, Tom worked for 11 years as a Research Scientist at the Bermuda Biological Station. It was in Bermuda that he became interested in marine cave biology. On this relatively small, low lying island, numerous limestone caves are found close to the sea. By diving in the tidal, saltwater pools of these caves, Tom discovered an unprecedented variety of crustaceans and other marine animals that are specially adapted to the cave environment.

Tom has led expeditions worldwide to study and collect animals from underwater caves in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indo-Pacific. Diving explorations of such caves has resulted in the discovery of 168 new species, 55 new genera, 7 new families and 3 new orders. Currently, Tom and his graduate students are conducting studies of marine caves in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.