Chris Groves joined the Center for Cave and Karst Studies, the original research group that would become the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory, as a student of WKU’s karst program founder, Nick Crawford, in 1981. His first dye traces were the following year. He is now University Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology at WKU and CHL Director. He received a PhD in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and has since developed an active international research program in hydrogeology, geochemistry and water resources. Groves has helped lead several United Nations scientific programs, including as co-Leader of Project IGCP661 “The Critical Zone in Karst Systems” through 2021. He also serves on the Governing Board and Academic Committee of the International Research Center on Karst under the Auspices of UNESCO. He served as Associate Editor of Hydrogeology Journal, and has published in the field’s leading journals including Groundwater, Water Resources Research, Journal of Hydrology, and Geomorphology.
Groves has led cooperative research in hydrogeology and water resources of the extensive karst region of rural southwest China since 1995. During his 36thtrip to the country, in January 2017 China’s President Xi Jinping awarded Groves the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, that country’s highest honor for foreign scientists, for “great contributions to China’s hydrogeology and karst geology fields.”
For many years, Groves has studied and explored caves and surface landscapes of Mammoth Cave National Park, including service as an expedition leader, Director, and President of the Cave Research Foundation.
Ms. Bledsoe is the Assistant Director of the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory. She provides project management, professional consultation on tracer test design, advises on hydrologic and water quality monitoring, oversees technical report writing, and supervises CHL staff and students. During her thirteen years with CHL, she has worked on dye traces for groundwater basin mapping, effluent and sewer pipe break investigations, dam leaks, landfill expansions, determining groundwater flow routes from factories and quarries, and determining spring recharge areas for projects across the U.S. as well as China, Jamaica, and Brazil. Ms. Bledsoe is a WKU Karst Field Studies instructor, serves as a technical advisor on undergraduate and graduate research at WKU and partner Universities, and leads dye-tracing workshops in the US and abroad.
Before joining the Crawford team, she worked for private research institutes and the National Park Service on water quality, hydrology, ecosystem restoration, and public health research projects. She is a Registered Sanitarian with the Department of Public Health for the State of Kentucky and is a certified onsite wastewater disposal inspector. Ms. Bledsoe received her B.A. in Environmental Science from Tusculum College and M.S. in Geoscience from Western Kentucky University. Her thesis work was a collaborative effort with the United States Army Corp of Engineers to investigate groundwater flow in the vicinity of Patoka Dam in Indiana to support dam safety risk assessment.
Ms. Singer is the Lab Manager of the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory. Her experience at CHL includes groundwater basin delineation, characterization of groundwater flow, landfill expansions, sewer/septic leaks, underground storage tank (UST) releases, and studies to inform water quality monitoring locations and evaluate the efficacy of existing groundwater monitoring programs on industrial sites.
Autumn supervises and executes day-to-day lab operations including sample processing and analysis, data interpretation, technical report writing, and the lab’s QA/QC program. She also serves as the lead field technician responsible for coordinating logistics as well as sample and data collection for both CHL research and client projects.
Prior to joining the CHL team, she earned a B.S. in Professional Biology from the University of North Alabama in 2015 and completed a M.S. in Geoscience from Western Kentucky University in 2017. Her thesis work, entitled "The Atmospheric Sink from Carbonate Rock Dissolution: The Ohio River Basin", focused on the geochemical sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide through interactions of acidic rainfall with carbonate rocks.