The publications keep coming! Tigga and Joe are co-authors on “A machine learning framework to classify Southeast Asian echolocating bats” that just came out in Ecological Indicators. This paper has all you can ask for, if what you’re asking for is using machine learning to classify bat calls in Southeast Asia. Field rats take note: “Our framework allows users to rapidly filter acoustic files for common species and isolate files of interest, cutting the total volume of data to be processed by 86%.” Not only a time saver, but this increases the capacity of researchers to use non-invasive sampling in regions without species-specific call records and can detect species that are often missed when employing other sampling methods.
Iroro, Ben, and Tigga recently published ten new species-level bat records from Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and Cross River National Park in southeastern Nigeria. These new records are especially exciting because Nigeria is both under-sampled and a biodiversity hotspot! Check out the full publication “Hidden Afrotropical Bat Diversity in Nigeria: Ten New Country Records from a Biodiversity Hotspot“
Left: Portraits of 34 bats captured during the field survey at Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and Cross River National Park. M. torquata (e), R. hillorum (j), H. curtus (n), M. inflatus (x), G. cf. humeralis (aa), G. egeria (cc), K. cuprosa (dd), K. phalaena (ff), and N. eisentrauti (hh) are all new country records.
Tigga, along with Former lab members Joe Chun-Chia Huang and Juliana Senawi, recently co-authored “ChiroVox: a public library of bat calls” in PeerJ. The paper was timed to coincide with the launch of www.chirovox.org online bat call library. The library contains calls from across three cotenants and welcomes quality call contributions to help grow this valuable community resource.
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!
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.
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. Viruses, 13(7), 1356. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v13071356
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!