Final month in Panama

I have only one month left in Panama! We wrapped up data collection for our captive experiments, and we are now shifting to fieldwork. On June 28, I hired our last research intern for Panama, Darija Josic (MSc in Biology), a bat researcher from Croatia. She is helping both Sebastian Stockmaier and I with looking at effects of sickness behavior on contact calling, and she’s constructing an association network of our vampire bat group based on observations of physical contact while roosting (to compare with grooming and food sharing). She will later be helping Simon Ripperger and I track wild and previously captive vampire bats using proximity loggers.


Through my university education, I have gained a good foundation in biology, with a focus in ecology, and later in physiology and immunology. During my studies I became a member of the Biology Students Association where my main interest were bats, and since then I have been actively involved in bat research. I took part in many field studies, often on surveys in Croatian National and Nature Parks. This is my first time in the tropics and I am discovering many amazing bat species living here.

I am contributing to the ongoing experiments on social behavior of vampire bats in the Rachel Page lab at STRI. The time that I am spending here at STRI working with Dr. Gerald Carter is an amazing opportunity to see first-hand how behavioral experiments are setup and executed and I have been learning a lot about data analysis. I had a chance to hear and meet so many great individuals working on a broad variety of research topics. In my future I hope to pursue further research on bats. The experience I’m gaining in Panama will help me tremendously in my career.

Angela Freeman (postdoc neuroendocrinologist from Cornell) is here this week to help us look at the neuroendocrine basis for social behaviors in bats. Angela has studied the mechanisms underlying communication and social behavior in many species including peacocks, ground squirrels, and pouched rats, and now fruit bats and vampire bats!

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Brunch to say ‘Farewell’ to Claire and ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jineth. Top row: Gregg Cohen, Gerry Carter. Bottom row: Michelle Nowak, Jineth Berrío-Martínez, Angela Freeman, May Dixon, Claire Hemingway, and Darija Josic

Today, Simon Ripperger and engineers Niklas Duda and Björn Cassens are arriving with their incredible high-resolution tracking system.

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More on both these projects (with Angela and Simon) in future posts…


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