Welcome to the Bat Ecology & Genetics Lab
Our mission is to leverage genetic approaches for global bat species conservation.
Bats are the second most diverse and abundant mammalian order, but probably the least understood due to their cryptic biology. Because bats fly, most are small-bodied and nocturnal, and many travel great distances nightly or annually, they have until recently been difficult to study. New genetic tools are key to unravelling the secrets of bats and thereby assisting conservation efforts. Our Species from Feces Initiative reliably identifies bat species from around the world from guano, and has generated considerable interest from federal and state agencies, mining and wind companies, and internationally-focused NGOs. Our success with bats has led us to take additional taxa under our wing for species and diet identification from feces.
The searchable database on our website allows users to determine the power of our assay for identifying bat species that interest them. The Species from Feces tool has immediate application in the U.S., where bats are under threat from White-Nose Syndrome, and is also useful globally with the ability to identify over 90% of bat species for which genetic information is available. Please see our paper.
Who We Are
We are a team of bat ecologists, wildlife geneticists, bioinformaticians, graduate and undergraduate students, genetics research specialists, and field technicians. We develop and use emerging genetic approaches to better understand bats. Species from Feces is a powerful tool for these difficult-to-study mammals, in a time of great conservation need.
February 2019: Undergraduate researchers Samantha Hershauer and Jacque Lyman presented talks at The Wildlife Society JAM in Albuquerque, NM.
January 2019: The Ancient DNA Lab has moved to Bilby Research Center! We now work in positive pressure rooms to help prevent contamination of sensitive samples, and have one room for bone grinding and another for DNA extractions.
September 2018: Congratulations to Jordyn Upton for winning the poster competition at the wombat conference in Adelaide, South Australia
September 2018: Colin Sobek and Jordyn Upton fly to Australia for a wombat meeting and research.