Ashraf’s First Field Season Yields ~550 Bats and ~17 Species!

Research assistants (Left to right – Tania Akhter and Rifat Hasan) in the field collecting tissue and fecal samples.

Ashraf just finished his long waited first season of fieldwork this Summer 2022 in Bangladesh. The field season started with a Seminar as Dr. Tigga Kingston was invited to speak at the Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh as keynote speaker. Dr. Kingston’s talk was entitled “Diversity and Conservation of Bats in Paleotropics”. A further talk was given by Ashraf on the human dimension of bats and current bat research in Bangladesh, and the project “Bats of Bangladesh: Bat Assemblage Structure and Species Responses to Land-use Change” he was undertaking. Later, Dr. Kingston visited Ashraf’s field site to see if the study design was feasible and build bat research capacity. As part of the capacity building, Ashraf, and his team (4 students) received hands-on training on complementary field methods such as harp traps, mist nets, and acoustics to capture and record bats. They also got training on collecting morphometric data of bats and taxonomy.

In this season, Ashraf worked in three protected areas of Bangladesh. He and his team caught ~550 bats and ~17 species!  The project was funded by the Rufford Foundation, Bat Conservation International, Michelle C. Knapp Memorial Scholarship, and obviously, the equipment support was provided by the Kingston Lab.

Postdoctoral Researcher on Bat Microbiomes

The labs of Tigga Kingston and Caleb Phillips at Texas Tech University are seeking to fill a post-doc position as part of the National Science Foundation-supported project “Community processes structuring assembly and disassembly of bat gut-microbial communities across a gradient of habitat degradation”. This project integrates bat genetics, molecular dietary analysis, and microbiome data from forest interior insectivorous bats sampled across a habitat degradation gradient in Malaysia with the objective of quantifying processes and relationships shaping microbiome communities. As such, the successful applicant with have expertise and enthusiasm for the integration of omics data and ecology.  The position will be funded for one year with a possible second year depending on performance. The position is open to applicants wishing to relocate to Lubbock, Texas, as well as to those preferring to work remotely within the United States.  Application packages should include CV, contact information for three references, Research Statement, and three examples of the applicant’s published work.  Please submit applications to caleb.phillips@ttu.edu with the subject line “Microbiome Assembly Postdoc”.

The Kingston Lab at IBRC 2022 and the first ever GBatNet research meeting

The first weeks of August were a busy time for the lab. First, we helped plan and run the first ever Global Union of Bat Diversity Networks (GBatNet) in-person research meeting. Held in Austin, TX, USA, this meeting brought together 67 researchers from 25 countries and research areas ranging from applied conservation to genomics to disease and many more! Together, we identified 15 interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research projects that will forward GBatNet’s mission to understand and protect bat diversity in a changing world.

We then ran across town to co-hoast the 19th International Bat Research Conference. In addition to helping run the conference, Tigga presented her talk on GBatNet’s history and mission, Abby her talk “Bat Meat: Preference or Necessity? The Role of Protein
Limitation in Driving Bat-Hunting”, and Adrienne her’s entitled “A Seasonal Comparison of Foraging Movements of Pteropus alecto From an Urban and Peri-urban Roost”. Touseef presented his poster “The Role of Heat Stressed Indian Flying Foxes in Propagation of Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment”, and recent Texas Tech undergraduate Elaine Tackett gave her first in-person poster “Global Medicinal Use of Bats: A Systematic Literature and Social Media Review“. As if that wasn’t enough, everyone contributed to running the GBatNet’s Wednesday research and recruitment workshop, attended by over 150 people.

As if that wasn’t enough, everyone contributed to running the GBatNet’s Wednesday research and recruitment workshop, attended by over 150 people.

In addition, Kingston Lab alums were well represented throughout the conference. Recent graduate Iroro Tanshi gave an early career plenary on ” Harnessing Local Capacity to Uncover and Protect Hidden Afrotropical Bat Diversity, Nurul Ain Elias and Kendra Phelps both co-chaired sessions and presented talks, and Juliana Senawi presented her work “The Distribution and Conservation of Island Bats in Langkawi Archipelago of Malaysia.”

It was an exhausting and exhilarating time filled with old friends and new ideas.