Science Cafe: Bats: Beneficial, Beautiful, and Burdened
Scary? Dangerous? Nuisances? Bats are often misunderstood and underappreciated. Yet they are extremely diverse, are found worldwide, and play important ecological, economic and even medicinal roles. Now, bats are facing unprecedented threats to their existence as a result of the devastating White Nose Syndrome and other environmental pressures. What can be done to protect these magnificent aerial predators of insects? How do we study these elusive, night-flying creatures? In this Café, we will explore some of the fascinating roles and diversity of bats and learn about some low- and high-tech tools used in bat research.
About Our Speaker
Lisa Gatens has been the Museum’s Research Curator of Mammals since 2004. Her research interests include small mammals (mice, voles, shrews, etc.) and bats of the region. Specifically, she is looking at mercury accumulation in bats and how that varies geographically, with the intention of exploring long-term effects on local bat populations. Gatens is a member of the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network and co-chair of the NC Bat Working Group. The mission of these groups is to better understand the diversity of bats in the region and to work toward conservation of bat species through research, monitoring, education and outreach.