Fall 2005: Why Should You Care about Bats?

Fall 2005: Why Should You Care about Bats?


All Day

Event Type

Presented by Dr. Thomas Kunz
Boston University

Dr. Thomas Kunz, Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology at Boston University, as well as a noted bat expert, described the importance of bats in the world’s ecosystem. Dr. Kunz presented a brief overview of bat characteristics including what distinguishes bats from other mammals, what different species look like, how many kinds of bats are known in the World, where they live, what they eat, as well as their importance to both the natural and human-altered ecosystems. He spoke about the feeding and roosting habits of selected bat species including tent-making bats, cave-roosting bats and hibernating bats. Myths about bats are found in many cultures, in movies, comic books and on television. Dr. Kunz talked about some of the common myths and folklore about bats, how bats are being threatened by human activities, and why it is important to protect and preserve bats and the habitats on which they depend. He brought a live bat and demonstrated some of the special equipment he uses to study bats in hollow trees and caves.

Dr. Kunz has been on the faculty of Boston University for the past 34 years. His research focuses on the ecology, behavior, evolution and conservation biology of bats. He is the author or co-author of over 200 publications and is the editor of Ecology of Bats (Plenum Press, 1982) and co-editor of Bat Biology and Conservation (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998) and Functional and Evolutionary Ecology of Bats (Oxford University Press, in press). He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, past president of the American Society of Mammologists and a recipient of the Gerrit S. Miller Jr. Award and the C. Hart Merriam Award. He is currently funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Park Service, where his research focuses on assessing the ecological and economic impact of Brazilian free-tailed bats on agro-ecosystems and the influence of environmental factors on the prevalence of rabies infections in two species of North American insectivorous bats. He has pioneered the applications of infrared thermal imaging in ecology and behavior.