Our two undergraduate interns Yeli Garcia (Earlham) and Emily Dong (Cornell) just completed their independent projects and finished their seasons in Panama. Yeli’s project was entitled “Guano scent as a cue for roost-finding in vampire bats” and Emily’s was “Co-feeding and food sharing in vampire bats”. They both worked hard, did a terrific job, and I’m quite proud. Emily and Yeli were funded by NSF through the Research-for-Undergraduates (REU) program.
PhD student Sebastian (Basti) Stockmaier (UT Austin) also wrapped up data collection for his project on inducing sickness behavior in vampire bats and measuring the effects on physiology and cooperative behavior.
Undergraduate intern Rachel Moon (Harvard) is currently working on linking contact call structure of vampire bats to group membership and kinship.Above: Yeli Garcia, Emily Dong, Gerry, Basti Stockmaier, and Rachel Moon
Earlier in the year, PhD student Gloria Gessinger used hi-speed video and ultrasonic recordings to test whether vampire bats produce echolocation calls through the nose or mouth. PhD student Andrea Rummel also did some pilot tests of how vampire bats land on the ceiling. Postdoc Simon Ripperger conducted a pilot study tracking wild vampire bats with proximity sensors.
Above: Simon and I setting up base stations for automated data collection from free-ranging vampire bats.
During his time here, Simon placed cameras on the ground outside of several tunnel roosts to look at frog-eating bats coming and going. One of the roosts was also home to a lone male vampire bat who detected the camera immediately (see video below).
In collaboration with Damien Farine and Gabriele Schino, I will soon be writing up a study on detecting the relative ease of reciprocity and kinship effects using data from vampires and primates. Finally, my two long-term projects on 1) reciprocity and 2) development of novel food-sharing bonds will continue into next year.
My work in Panama to date has been conducted in collaboration with my co-PI’s Rachel Page (STRI) and John Ratcliffe (U Toronto), and I’m currently applying for new postdoc fellowships.