Kendra and Maria at ASM

Kendra and Maria attended the 94th American Society of Mammalogist meeting earlier this month in Oklahoma City, OK. Kendra presented findings from her dissertation research regarding drivers of cave bat diversity and how those drivers can be used in making conservation decisions. The presentation was titled ” Anthropogenic and Environmental Factors Influencing Cave Bat Diversity in the Philippines: Implications for Conservation Agendas” and was co-authored with her collaborators, Dr. Marina Labonite and Reizl Jose, in the Philippines. It was received well and sparked some interesting conversations about conserving cave bats globally and developing criteria to identify priority caves to conserve cave bat populations. Kendra’s talk was preceded by Maria’s entitled “Roost Specialization Increases Extinction Risk in Bats” (with Gloriana Chaverri). The two papers were a great fit, as Maria’s analysis highlights the vulnerability of cave bats to disturbance.

Tigga in Kenya with Dr Paul Webala

Last month I had an excellent trip to Kenya to visit with Dr Paul Webala at Karatina University, which resulted in a Letter of Intent between Texas Tech and Karatina that we hope will facilitate future collaboration and student exchange between our institutes. We then went off to western Kenya in pursuit of bats, starting with the most easterly section of of Africa’s tropical rainforest, preserved in Kakamega Forest. It was beautiful, and we caught some super bats ….

We then started heading towards the Lake Victoria area, but stopped on en route at an Eidolon roost that Beryl will be monitoring as part of a continent-wide initiative, and building on Paul’s work on colonies in this area that was supported for several years by Rufford. 

We stayed at the Impala Sanctuary just outside Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria, where we had a highly productive time catching and recording edge/gap bats.

We had enough time for a trip to one of the fishing villages on the Lake’s shores — very exciting for me as I teach about the catastrophic biodiversity collapse precipitated by the introduction of the Nile perch and Tilapia in both my Ecology and Conservation Biology classes.

 

I had a wonderful time and would like to thank Paul for being such an awesome host, and was very excited to work with Beryl, Mike and Simon (great bat futures ahead of you all). Thanks to Texas Tech (Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, and the Vice President for Research’s Office) for funding the trip. I’m sure great things will come of it.