Last year, I attended a symposium hosted by Peter Kappeler at the German Primate Center on the topic of "social complexity". A bunch of evolutionary and behavioral ecologists from different backgrounds got together to argue about stuff like 'How should we define social complexity?', 'Is the brain size of a species a good of measure … Continue reading New paper on relatedness and social networks across different bats
This week I’ve been working with a team of bat researchers in Lamanai, Belize (an archaeological site of the ruins of a Mayan city). We are collecting data for a study on the effects of sickness behavior on social associations in wild vampire bats. Last year, PhD student Sebastian "Basti" Stockmaier and I conducted two … Continue reading Fieldwork: Lamanai, Belize
https://youtu.be/S3ietoB5qLE More information: Sears Lab
Rachel Crisp is currently writing her masters thesis on dominance interactions in female vampire bats. Males have a clear dominance hierarchy in competition over roost territories, but do the female vampires have a dominance rank? If so, does it strongly correlate with cooperative interactions? Her work should come out next year! Despite all the work on … Continue reading English translation of Park (1988) Dominance relationships in a colony of vampire bats. Korean Journal of Zoology.
Adam Cole from NPR visited our lab to shoot this great video short on human-vampire bat conflict. So "should we wipe out vampire bats?" No, even if we could, we shouldn't try, and frankly, nobody is actually suggesting exterminating vampire bats as a long-term solution. More on this topic in a previous post: Is killing … Continue reading Should we wipe out vampire bats?
Our latest paper here. Also some early press here. There are actually three recent papers on social networks and the benefits of network size in primates (by Laurent Brent and co-authors), songbirds (by Josh Firth and co-authors), and bats (by me and co-authors): Family network size and survival across the lifespan of female macaques by L. … Continue reading Latest paper: social bet-hedging in vampire bats (and two other recent and related studies)
It can be found here. Summary: 35 years of field observations 13,642 mist-net captures and 181 whole roost captures vampire bats in Argentina (near the southern limit of their range) have a reproductive season (unlike most other places) we have new records for oldest wild vampire bats: 16 and 17 years we corroborated prior evidence … Continue reading Latest paper: Reproductive seasonality, sex ratio and philopatry in Argentina’s common vampire bats
I am hoping to develop some new long-term field sites for future work on vampire bats. On March 27, I traveled with Austin Garrido, Rob Mies (director of the Organization for Bat Conservation), his daughter Georgia Mies, and labmates May Dixon, Rachel Crisp, Katharina Eggert, Hugo Narizano, and Julia Vrtilek to Lake Bayano, a two-hour drive … Continue reading A new field site in Panama
Here's the paper. In evolutionary biology, we often draw a line between "altruism" and other cooperative traits. Altruistic traits are special in that they lead to a net cost to one's survival and reproduction. Some traits are clear cases: when a bee stings you it dies, so the suicidal bee sting is an altruistic trait. But … Continue reading New paper: risk exaggerates nepotism in vampire bats
Sapiens Magazine just put out an article about vampire bats and friendship. The author Leah Shaffer did a great job, probably the most accurate media story on the vampire bats I can remember. Usually, journalists get a lot wrong, but they did a great job fact-checking this one. Also, below is an edited transcript of … Continue reading Recent media article about vampire bats and friendship