Congratulations Dr. Tanshi!

Iroro in action!

A huge congratulations to Iroro on successfully defending her PhD dissertation last Wednesday! Her dissertation title is “Drivers of Diversity Patterns and Ensemble Structure of Forest Understory Insectivorous Bats Along Elevation Gradients in an Afrotropical Biodiversity Hotspot”. Thank you to everyone who has helped Iroro!

Two New Publications!

Over the last couple of months, Tigga has published a couple of new papers:

The first paper is “Human dimensions of bat conservation – 10 recommendations to improve and diversify studies of human-bat interactions”. The authors assess bat-related HD research papers and provide recommendations for how to better ground our research and directions for expansion.

Ten recommendations for to improve and diversify studies of human-bat interactions

Straka, T. M., Coleman, J., Macdonald, E. A., & Kingston, T. (2021). Human dimensions of bat conservation – 10 recommendations to improve and diversify studies of human-bat interactions. Biological Conservation, 262, 109304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109304

The second paper is “Setting the Terms for Zoonotic Diseases: Effective Communication for Research, Conservation, and Public Policy”. The authors categorized the misuse of zoonotic terms and clarified the definitions of these terms. The paper also provided frameworks to how to correct these miscommunications.

Shapiro, J. T., Víquez-R, L., Leopardi, S., Vicente-Santos, A., Mendenhall, I. H., Frick, W. F., Kading, R. C., et al. (2021). Setting the Terms for Zoonotic Diseases: Effective Communication for Research, Conservation, and Public Policy. Viruses13(7), 1356. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v13071356

Tigga Receives the President’s Excellence in Diversity and Equity Award!

A huge congratulations to Tigga for receiving the 2021 President’s Excellence in Diversity and Equity Award, this award was received due, “to advancing diversity and promoting equity and inclusive excellence at Texas Tech”. There are four recipients of the award out of the pool of all Texas Tech staff, faculty, and students.

View the details of the President’s Excellence in Diversity and Equity Award here.

Congratulations to Touseef—One Health poster wins award at the World Microbe Forum

We are excited to share that Touseef’s poster entitled “Regional and Intersectional Gaps in One Health Research: Future Directions” has won an Outstanding Student Poster Award at the World Microbe Forum, the world’s leading platform for microbiologists. This award is presented jointly by American Society for Microbiologist (ASM) and Federation of European Microbiologist Societies (FEMS). One of only fourteen winners (out of over three thousand submissions), Touseef will present the poster this week in a special session for award winners.

Iroro wins a 2021 Whitley award!

A huge congratulations to Iroro for her 2021 Whitley award! Known as the “Green Oscars”, the award is given to “support the work of proven grassroots conservation leaders across the Global South”. Iroro’s award focuses on her rediscovery and efforts to save the Short-tailed Roundleaf Bat in Southeastern Nigeria and provides financial support to help her continue her work.

View Iroro’s Whitley page here or watch the full awards ceremony here.

A Brilliant Semester for the Kingston Lab

Even during a challenging year, the Kingston Lab has had some huge successes!

Iroro received a 2021 Horn Professor Graduate Research Award. The award, the highest for graduate students at Texas Tech, is used to “recognize and reward outstanding research or creative activity performed by graduate students”. She is also shortlisted for a 2021 Whitley Award, which recognizes conservation leadership in the Global South.

Abby was awarded the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP), the most prestigious basic science fellowship for graduate students in the US. She also mentored eight students who presented at the Texas Tech Undergraduate Research Symposium. Five of her students were recognized as outstanding presenters, including Leslie Alverez who also won an award for 1st place YouTube Presentation in the “Energy and Environment Impact” category.

Ashraf and Touseef were both awarded grants through Bat Conservation International’s Student Scholars Program and received Rufford Foundation small grants to help support their field work. See their work here and here. Ashraf also received the inaugural Promoting Diversity in Conservation Award from Bat Conservation International

Ben passed his qualifying exams and is now PhD candidate. In addition, he was featured on GreenAngle to discuss the problems facing bat conservation in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Tigga has been busy with the NSF AccelNet award supporting The Global Union of Bat Diversity Networks (GBatNet), which began in January. She is working with Nancy Simmons, Liliana Davalos, Susan Tsang, Abby Rutrough, and bat network leaders around the world to launch this “network of networks”.

Here’s hoping for a healthy and productive summer!

Clutter negotiating ability of forest bats – Our paper in J Exp Biol just published

Most bat community ecologists conceptualize insectivorous bat assemblages as comprising at least three foraging ensembles — the “open-space” ensemble, the “edge/gap” ensemble and the “narrow-space” or forest interior ensemble. The ensembles are generally characterized by different combinations of wing parameters that facilitate flight in those habitats. What’s been less clear is how species differ in performance within these ensembles, and how any differences might map to wing morphology.

That’s what Julie Senawi set out to do as part of her PhD, assessing performance of 15 species of forest interior bats through a collision-avoidance. There are a number of challenges in inferring ability from performance on tests, so we borrowed form the social sciences and applied Rasch Analysis, a latent trait modelling approach related to Item Response Theory. Details of this approach and the findings were published this week and can be requested through my researchgate page:

Senawi, J. & Kingston, T. (2019). Clutter negotiating ability in an ensemble of forest interior bats is driven by body mass. J. Exp. Biol. doi:10.1242/jeb.203950

The title says it all!

Building Julie’s flight cage
4 banks of strings that could be set to different inter-string distances made up the collision-avoidance experiment.
Julie taking photos of the bats to extract wing dimensions

Congratulations to Iroro – a prize winning week!

A great week for Iroro! First she won the Karl Koopman Award for a Student Oral presentation at the 49th North American Society for Bat Research (NASBR) meeting in Kalamazoo. Her talk was entitled “Competitors Versus Filters: Drivers of non-random Structure in Forest Interior Insectivorous Bat Assemblages along Elevational Gradients”.

Icing on the cake came from placing third in TTU’s “Three-Minute Thesis” competition

https://www.depts.ttu.edu/gradschool/current/threeminutethesis.php

Tigga receives NASBR’s Gerrit Miller Award

I was deeply honored to receive the Gerrit S. Miller, Jr  Award from the North American Society for Bat Research at NASBR’s annual conference last week. The award is in recognition of “outstanding service and contribution to the field of chiropteran biology”. I am the 26th awardee in the Society’s 47-yr history, so it is very special to me!

The newest Miller Awardee about to be photobombed by one of the oldest (Roy Horst)

The fabulous plaque!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the best bits of the award is the complex conspiracies that go on to keep it a secret from the recipient until “the big reveal” at the conference banquet. Thank you to all the co-conspirators for making it so special — you know who you are!!!

 

Kate Barlow Award 2018 for graduate research benefitting bat conservation

We are pleased to announce that applications to the 2018 Kate Barlow award are now open – the closing date is 5pm, 4th December 2017.

The Kate Barlow Award aims to encourage the next generation of bat researchers by providing a substantive contribution towards the research costs of postgraduate students undertaking research that will benefit bat conservation, in honour of the late Dr Kate Barlow’s contribution to bat conservation.

  • The Kate Barlow Award is open to students anywhere in the world conducting research which has a direct relevance for bat conservation.
  • One award of up to £4,500 will be made, towards the costs of a bat research project of no less than 4 months duration.
  • In addition BCT will pay for the award winner to attend either the BCT National Bat Conference or another relevant bat research and conservation conference.
  • An award decision will be made by the end of February 2018.

To apply, a completed application form together with two letters of recommendation should be emailed to science@bats.org.uk. The application form and guidance notes can be found on our website here:  http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/the_kate_barlow_award.html

Kate Barlow and a phyllostomid friend in Colombia, 1993 – great times (Photo T. Kingston)