Species from Feces
Advances in bioinformatics, next-generation sequencing, and non-invasive genetics has allowed us to fully exploit the power of pooh. We designed a genetic assay that targets bats while excluding their prey. It performs well with months old feces, and with nectar-feeders, insect-eaters, and fruit-eaters. Of the world’s bats that are barcoded, we can confidently identify 92% to the species level. We wish to offer our species identification services to further bat research and conservation globally.
What species from Feces can do
This assay identifies bat species from around the world from their guano. The main applications are to:
- Identify the bat species that occupy a cave, mine, bridge, building, or other roost.
- Screen for targeted bats, such as endangered species.
- Validate field identifications.
We have used Species from Feces to:
- Determine species assemblages of bats in caves, abandoned mines, other roosts, and even in guano fertilizer.
- Verify species identifications by field researchers, using fecal and buccal samples, as well as wing swabs taken for white-nose syndrome (Pd) assessment. We have found a surprising number of misidentifications for similar-looking species.
- Screen guano for Pd while identifying bat species.
- Barcode bat species that had not previously been barcoded.
- Identify bat carcasses.
We offer our species identification services to further bat research, conservation, and management globally. Navigate to our searchable database to determine whether Species from Feces can identify your species of interest.
Our key initiatives
We have six foci, which are often interrelated and overlapping (project titles are italicized):
1. Developing new tools for studying bats
Species from Feces: A tool for genetically identifying bats
Flexible and scalable unmanned aerial systems for field-based scientific research
2. Bats as foundation species
Bats drive microbial communities across trophic levels in subterranean habitats
3. Emerging diseases and zoonotics
Assessment of risk of caves and mines to White-Nose Syndrome in US national parks
Rabies in an urban interface
Transmission dynamics of viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens in bats
Tracking Escherichia coli infections of the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus)
4. Natural and human perturbations (fire, wind energy, mining) that impact bats
Bats in Burns: Response of Chiroptera to wildfire in high elevation forests
Bat responses to different gate structures at mines
Bat use of uranium mines
Bat assemblages in Arizona’s potential wind energy areas
5. Focal species for conservation
New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus): Habitat modeling and metagenomic diet analysis
Spotted bat (Euderma maculatum) population genetics across time and space
Diet of Nicaraguan bats
6. Ancient DNA
Sequencing DNA of spotted bat mummies
Valley Fever in 8,500 year old bison from Nebraska
Using DNA from lake sediment and permafrost to identify ancient and historic fauna and flora