Congratulations Dr Ain!!

Congratulations to Ain on her successful defense today! Her dissertation is entitled “The Influence of Roosting Ecology and Insect Resources on the Reproductive Phenology of Malaysian Rainforest Insectivorous Bats”

Thank you to all her committee: Drs Rich Strauss,  Nancy McIntyre Ken Schmidt, Jim Carr and to Caleb Phillips our Dean’s Rep.

Congratulations to Joe on a successful defense

Well done to Joe, who successfully defended his dissertation yesterday. His dissertation is titled ” Diversity and Conservation of Bats in a Coffee-forest Landscape in Sumatra, Indonesia”

Thank you to all his committee: Drs Rich Strauss, Dylan Schwilk, Nancy McIntyre and Stacy Philpott, and to Richard Stevens our Dean’s Rep. A special thank you to Stacy for doing coming all the way in from UC Santa Cruz and giving a departmental seminar (which was great).

Well done Marina — Presentation Prize Winner at Texas Tech Annual Biological Sciences Symposium

Congratulations to Marina for  being award the joint First Prize for an oral presentation in Ecology at this year’s TTABS. Her presentation was entitled “Spatial Clustering and Bias in Southeast Asian Bat Sampling Localities”. Cody McIntire did a great job presenting in the Undergraduate Category “The Diversity of Distress Vocalization of Old World Tropical Bats” and Iroro closed out the day with “High Roost Fidelity of Hammer-headed Fruit bats, Hypsignathus monstrosus, Utilizing a Man-Made Day Roost in Southern Nigeria.

Congratulations to Julie — First dissertation publication now online :-)

Julie’s first publication from her dissertation, which went into Functional Ecology, is now available in the “Accepted Article” format here

Juliana Senawi, Daniela Schmieder, Bjorn Siemers, and Tigga Kingston (2015). Beyond size- morophological predictors of bite force in a diverse insectivorous bat assemblage from Malaysia. Functional Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12447

Here is the awesome “general public” summary that Julie put together for FE:

Julie gathering data in the field (looking very serious).

Julie gathering data in the field (looking very serious).

“Would you rather be bitten by a big dog or by a small dog? Neither, of course, but if you had to choose, which one would it be? According to researchers, bite force (bite strength) increases with size in most animals, so the small dog is likely the better bet! Previous research in South and Central America indicates this relationship holds in bats too – bigger bats bite harder than smaller bats. We wanted to test whether this was the case in Asian forests, where the bat fauna is equally diverse, but dominated by very different families of bats.

So how do we measure how hard an animal bites without losing any fingers? The bats were encouraged to bite a pair of metal plates hinged at one end by a transducer, which converts the pressure of the bite to a readable output of the force. We recorded the maximum bite force and measures of size (body mass, forearm length, head width, head height and head length) of 35 insect-eating bat species captured in Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia. The bats ranged in size from 3 g to 200 g and belonged to 7 families. We also measured jaw features responsible for generating bite force using museum specimens of the same species, and used these to calculate the mechanical advantage (jaw effectiveness) adjusted by the size of the species.

So, did bigger bats bite harder? The answer was yes, but the relationship between size and bite force differed among the bat families. The effectiveness of the jaw (mechanical advantage) also played a role, regardless of the size of the bat. All 35 species of bats in this study eat insects in the same forest, so they have developed strategies to avoid competition. Having a different bite force than your neighbour may be one – while some species may focus on hard crunchy prey like beetles, others may specialize on softer fare like flying termites and moths.”

Successful defenses for Julie, Nick and Colleen — Well Done!

March is defense season at TTU, and we had a very busy and successful month. A hearty congratulations to Julie, Nick and Colleen for great presentations and bodies of work :-). Here are the titles:

Juliana Senawi: The Relationship between Morphology and Ecological Performance in Malaysian Insectivorous Bats. PhD Zoology. (My FIRST PhD student to graduate — YAY!).

Nick Goforth: Short-Term Effects of Wildfire on Bat Activity. MS Natural Resource Management.

Colleen Martin: Effectiveness of Operational Mitigation in Reducing Bat Mortality and an Assessment of Bat and Bird Fatalities at the Sheffield Wind Facility, Vermont. MS Wildlife, Aquatic, and Wildlands Science and Management.

Julie returns to her lectureship in Malaysia at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, while Colleen and Nick will be staying on in Lubbock for a bit while they plan the next move in their careers. We wish them the very best for the future, even though they will be missed from the lab.