New paper on social rank in female vampire bats

MSc student Rachel Crisp, Laurent Brent, and I published a paper today in Royal Society Open Science, entitled "Social dominance and cooperation in female vampire bats" We did this study because, although I've worked on cooperation in female vampire bats for years, but we had no idea about the role of competition among females. We … Continue reading New paper on social rank in female vampire bats

New paper: measuring ages of wild bats using an epigenetic clock (with general insights into aging)

Many people would like to know how to prolong human lifespan, so many well-funded labs are actively working on the biology of aging. One of the most interesting findings from this vast body of research is that aging is strongly correlated with DNA methylation. This work, pioneered by Steve Horvath, led to the creation of … Continue reading New paper: measuring ages of wild bats using an epigenetic clock (with general insights into aging)

Recent updates: March 2021

Soon-to-be-postdoc Basti Stockmaier just published a paper in Science entitled Infectious Diseases and Social Distancing in Nature. Our collaborator Liz Hobson just published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled Aggression heuristics underlie animal dominance hierarchies and provide evidence of group-level social information. I recently joined the Board of Directors at … Continue reading Recent updates: March 2021

Adoption in vampire bats

We have a new short note about nonkin adoption in vampire bats published in Royal Society Open Science. I never thought we would write a paper based on a single observation, but we have such interesting longitudinal data leading up to this event. Here's the story: One of the "facts" I often hear about vampire … Continue reading Adoption in vampire bats

Recent lab updates, January 2019

Some recent press focused on work by postdoc Simon Ripperger entitled "Today I learned bats are trendsetters in tracking tech", based partially on this nice interview. Along with other past and present members of the Farine Lab, I helped write a review paper just published in Journal of Animal Ecology: The importance of individual‐to‐society feedbacks … Continue reading Recent lab updates, January 2019

Tracking the impact of sickness on social networks in the field

Out latest paper, entitled "Tracking sickness effects on social encounters via continuous proximity sensing in wild vampire bats" is out in Behavioral Ecology (once again just in time for Halloween). This field experiment led by postdoc Simon Ripperger is the followup to a series of lab studies on sickness behavior led by grad student Basti … Continue reading Tracking the impact of sickness on social networks in the field

Do bats sniff out their roosts? Lessons for understanding the role of uncertainty in science

A common misunderstanding perpetuated in most grade schools is that science is about “facts”.  Contrary to popular belief, working scientists don’t talk much about facts. They talk about questions, hypotheses, models, and possible experiments. They say things like, “Here’s how you could really demonstrate that” or “Here’s what we found” more often than “These are … Continue reading Do bats sniff out their roosts? Lessons for understanding the role of uncertainty in science

Presentations at 2020 Animal Behavior Society Virtual Meeting

The Animal Behavior Society had its online conference as a virtual meeting this year. I loved it! The talks were pre-recorded, so they were better in quality than normal talks (no public-speaking practice or performance required). I could watch every talk on my own schedule without missing any, and if I started to lose focus … Continue reading Presentations at 2020 Animal Behavior Society Virtual Meeting

New paper: Sick vampire bats make fewer contact calls to their groupmates

PhD Student Basti Stockmaier published his last empirical dissertation chapter entitled "Immune-challenged vampire bats produce fewer contact calls" in Biology Letters. He also presented a poster today at a virtual conference entitled "How do pathogens and parasites affect behaviour?". I've posted a copy of the poster below. The work was also featured in the New … Continue reading New paper: Sick vampire bats make fewer contact calls to their groupmates

Creating a lab culture that encourages innovation

Postdoc Simon Ripperger gave a presentation at our virtual lab meeting this week on “design thinking and social innovation”. Innovation is a critical driver for the success of most organizations. Many large companies spend significant time and money trying to understand how to develop cultures and incentive structures that foster innovation. Companies like Google do … Continue reading Creating a lab culture that encourages innovation