Postdoctoral Research Associate; Boston University
Location: Southwestern Costa Rica
Research: Understanding how bats cope with habitat loss
Species/Topic: Spix's disk-winged bat (Thyroptera tricolor)
Abstract: As human populations expand, our impact on natural ecosystems continues to grow and threaten the long term persistence of species. For many populations, survival at large regional scales depends on the re-colonization of local habitat patches following extinction events through dispersal. Here we propose an experimental approach to examine the effects of habitat loss on population persistence and patterns of dispersal in a foliage-roosting bat. To experimentally mimic habitat loss, we will cut all plants used as roosting resources in six study plots and record dispersal patterns. We will survey newly occupied patches, and meanwhile allow the original plots to become re-established. We will then continue to survey all patches to determine whether bats re-colonize original habitats. The results of this study will provide a model to understand the effects of worldwide habitat destruction on other bat species and communities, allowing better conservation and management plans for these organisms.