M.Sc. Student- Organization for Tropical Studies
Location: Sarapiquí, Costa Rica
Research: Roost Ecology and Conservation of Bats Living in Buildings in Sarapiquí
Abstract: Bats in the families Vespertilionidae and Molossidae have been poorly studied, despite their importance to perform beneficial environmental services by controlling insect plagues and insects that are potential disease vectors. Urban expansion into rural areas of the tropics has caused some species to begin using buildings for their roosts instead of in forests. In Costa Rica, one in ten homes has a bat colony, however, people often exterminate entire colonies out of fear and ignorance. I propose a multifaceted project with three main components: 1) Scientific: To census and characterize the bat colonies and roosts of species living in homes; 2) Application: Relate the diet information to the control of agricultural pests and also determine the presence of the fungus responsible for causing histoplasmosis in bat guano; 3) Education: Present talks about bats to schools and community groups, and to publish/distribute educational material.