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

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

Can a captive-born vampire bat feed on a live animal?

In 2016 and 2017, we captured female vampire bats and then released them back into the wild almost two years later to track their wild association networks. During their time in captivity, 12 of the females gave birth to pups. Would these captive-born bats be able to survive in the wild? Jineth Berrío-Martínez conducted an experiment … Continue reading Can a captive-born vampire bat feed on a live animal?

Proximity sensors, preprints, and grants

Simon Ripperger will be joining our team this summer in Panama. Simon recently published the first paper on his new method for sampling dynamic social networks of whole groups of bats in the field. The paper in Biology Letters is entitled "Proximity sensors on common noctule bats reveal evidence that mothers guide juveniles to roosts … Continue reading Proximity sensors, preprints, and grants

New grad student: Imran Razik

I’ve always been incredibly curious about the natural world and how it works, especially the animal kingdom. As a kid I would spend hours peeking under rocks, watching documentaries, and reading through wildlife encyclopedias. My entire childhood was focused around biological exploration, be it outside or in a book, so when I finally found out … Continue reading New grad student: Imran Razik

Team Vampire, Spring 2017

Jineth Berrío-Martínez (MSc in Biology) is a researcher from Colombia who arrived in April has been travelling around Panama to find additional wild vampire bat colonies. She is working on development of biting ability in young vampire bats.  My research interests include tropical biology, population ecology, reproductive biology, evolution, and conservation. Early in my career … Continue reading Team Vampire, Spring 2017

‘Team Vampire’ Fall 2016

Julia Vrtilek (Biology, Amherst College, 2015) is studying the development of grooming and food-sharing networks in young-of-the-year vampire bats. What are your interests? I find it fascinating and awe-inspiring that “from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” I’m interested in evolutionary biology, ecology, and animal … Continue reading ‘Team Vampire’ Fall 2016

Summer 2016 updates

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 … Continue reading Summer 2016 updates