Lunch with a Mentor

We are excited to provide trainees the opportunity to attend an organized lunch with an expert bat biologist! Learn about their career paths, ask questions about their research, and share your love of bats! Keep an eye out for details regarding registration.

Dr. Gerry Carter
The Ohio State University & Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

I study bat cooperation, communication, and cognition. I'm an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. A major goal of my lab is to understand how vampire bats form and regulate their cooperative relationships. Students and postdocs in my lab also study how bats choose their social partners, learn from different types of cues, encode information in social calls, and change their behavior when sick. You can read more about my lab at socialbat.org.

Dr. Gerald Carter
Dr. Dina Dechmann

Dr. Dina Dechman
Max Planck Institue of Animal Behavior & Uni Konstanz

If I had to put myself into a category I would say I am an evolutionary ecologist. I am passionate about evolution and adaptation. During my masters and PhD I started out studying questions about drivers of sociality in bats and soon looked towards the tropics, because many theories about this question (at the time, this is many years ago) were based on work on temperate zone bat species and maternity colonies. However I felt like the same reasons, especially social thermoregulation did not apply to the many tropical species that are also social. I felt like addressing the same questions in tropical species could teach us a lot about sociality in bats, including those from the temperate zones. This soon led to a focus on social information transfer during foraging as a driver for sociality and from this to a broader interest in the link between resource ephemerality, the degree of resource specialisation and species' strategies to deal with this (including sociality). So now in my group we study adaptations to ephemeral resources, especially food, that can fluctuate in availability over the short- and longterm in bats and shrews, because I am interested in those small mammals that live on the energetic knife's edge. We look at foraging strategies, especially social information use, but also morphology, physiology and especially energetic strategies. I am at an institute that pioneers and develops novel tracking methods and a large part of our work makes use of this to sit on the shoulder of our bats and see what they do!

Dr. Amanda Adams
Bat Conservation International

Amanda joined the BCI staff in 2019 and has studied bats for over 19 years. She received her PhD from Western University in Canada where she studied spatial-temporal variation in bat activity patterns.

She completed postdoctoral research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Texas A&M University. Amanda actively studies bat behavioral and sensory ecology and is adjunct faculty in the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University.

Amanda has worked with bats and trained individuals in acoustic monitoring and analysis techniques around the world, including Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Israel.

Dr. Amanda Adams
Dr. Winifred Frick

Dr. Winifred Frick
Bat Conservation International

Dr. Winifred Frick is Chief Scientist at Bat Conservation International and an Associate Research Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz.  Dr. Frick has studied bats for 20 years and has worked around the world to study and protect bat populations.  As Chief Scientist at Bat Conservation International, she directs research on scalable solutions for achieving conservation outcomes for bats.  She’s happy to discuss conservation-based career advice, as well as work-life integration, parenting and fieldwork, and how curiosity and wonder about bats and the natural world are antidotes to despair.

Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rueppel
University of Alberta

Matina’s long-term research goal is to determine how individual state and context influence communication and related behaviours of bats and mice, and how changes in the landscape, geophony and anthropophony, at multiple ecological scales, influence signalers and receivers.  At small scales, she follows individuals to contextualize calls and understand how biotic and abiotic factors influence behaviors of signalers and receivers and at large scales she examines landscape effects on presence and abundance of bat and mouse diversity. She is the Interim Dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Alberta and a Professor of Biological Sciences.

Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell
Dr. Kristen Lear

Dr. Kristen Lear
Bat Conservation International

Dr. Kristen Lear has over 15 years of experience protecting bats and sharing her passion with the public. She has led bat research, conservation, and education projects in the US, Australia, and Mexico, coordinating international teams and guiding conservation policy for endangered species. Kristen earned a BA in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2011 and following graduation she received a Fulbright Scholarship to study the critically endangered Southern bent-wing bat (Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii) in South Australia. In 2020, she earned her PhD in Integrative Conservation and Forestry and Natural Resources from the University of Georgia, where her research combined natural and social science approaches to assess opportunities for agave restoration with rural communities in Coahuila and Nuevo León, Mexico. She currently works as Bat Conservation International’s Agave Restoration Program Manager, leading the organization’s bi-national Agave Restoration Initiative to restore agaves to the U.S. Southwest and Mexico to support threatened pollinating bats and community livelihoods.

Kristen is an award-winning public speaker and science communicator and has shared her story on platforms ranging from podcasts, radio shows, the National Geographic stage, and CBS’s “Mission Unstoppable” TV show about women in STEM.

Dr. Burton Lim
Royal Ontario Museum

I am assistant curator of mammals at Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.  My PhD from the University of Toronto was on the molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of New World emballonurid bats.  Research interests include the evolution and biodiversity of small mammals with a particular focus on tropical bats.  I’ve been fortunate in being able to conduct fieldwork in about 30 countries.  But I also believe in giving back to the scientific community that has helped me throughout my career.  I am currently Chair of the NASBR Board of Directors and Managing Editor of Journal of Mammalogy.

Dr. Burton Lim2
Dr. Susan Loeb

Dr. Susan Loeb
U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station
Susan Loeb is a Research Ecologist with the US Forest Service, Southern Research Station and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson University where she mentors graduate students. She has been studying bats for about 22 years and her research focuses on effects of forest management and white-nose syndrome on bats of the southeast; ecology of threatened, endangered, and sensitive species; and developing and testing monitoring programs for bats.

Dr. Rodrigo Medellin
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Rodrigo Medellín is Senior Professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)´s Institute of Ecology. He works on the conservation and ecology of mammals in Mexico and 16 other countries. He has produced more than 60 theses and more than 200 publications. He has presided international scientific societies and represented Mexico and North America at CITES and other international forums. His work has been featured in various documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic, and other production houses.

Dr. Rodrigo Medellin
Dr. Luis Víquez-R

Dr. Luis Víquez-R
Bucknell University

I am a tropical biologist. I grew up in Costa Rica where the tropical forest is 20 minutes away from the University. From very early on I started working with bats and never left them :). The main focus of my research is to understand how natural processes (migration, roost selection, etc.) and landscape changes affect the bat-pathogen balance. I am a firm believer in interdisciplinary work and during my academic journey, I have collaborated with MDs, MVs, Physicists, Agroecologists, Immunologists, and many others trying to find the answers to the ultimate questions: How do animals in their natural habitat cope with infection? How this balance is affected by the human modifications of the landscape? How can we use these lessons to procure a healthier environment for the next generation of humans? During my academic journey, I have done research in 5 different countries and have had to navigate visas, work permits, and several intercontinental moves. If you want to chat about your next steps, I'm all ears and I can tell you what has worked for me before!

Dr. Joy O'Keefe
University of Illinois

Dr. O’Keefe is on faculty in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She studies endangered bats in landscapes where bats intersect with human activity and collaborates with resource managers to conduct large-scale and long-term field projects that inform conservation solutions for bats. She regularly communicates with stakeholders to share practical management solutions from effective bat house deployments to best practices for protecting bats and their habitat during prescribed burns. Dr. O’Keefe is also a campus DEI leader and works with Illinois Extension on making the field of natural resources more inclusive for everyone.

Dr Joy Okeefe
Paul_Faure

Dr. Paul Faure
McMaster University

Paul Faure studies bioacoustics, hearing, and the integrative physiology of bats. In 2005, he founded Canada’s first and only captive research colony of insectivorous bats (Eptesicus fuscus) available for year-round research. His research program focuses on sensory behaviour and the neurophysiology of sensory systems by examining the relationship between sound production, hearing, and acoustically-evoked behaviour in echolocating bats but also in insects and other non-human animals. More recently, his lab has also studied steroid hormones and reproductive physiology, flight membrane wound healing, and bats and rabies. For more details, visit https://batlab.mcmaster.ca.

Dr. Nancy Simmons
American Museum of Natural History

Nancy Simmons is the Curator-in-Charge of the Department of Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History, and a Professor in the AMNH’s Richard Gilder Graduate School.   Her research focuses on morphology, systematics, and evolution of bats.  She works with both living and fossil species, and is interested in phylogenetic relationships, biogeography, ecological diversity, and community structure of Neotropical bat faunas. A morphologist by training, her students and collaborators have pulled her into many new research areas in recent years including bat ecology, genome/pheonome connections, bat ectoparasites and microbiomes, disease dynamics, and conservation biology.  One of the primary organizers of GBatNet (Global Union of Bat Diversity Networks), she is also Chair of the Global Bat Taxonomy Working Group of the IUCN Bat Specialist Group, on the Steering Committee for the Bat 1K Project, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Bat Conservation International.

Dr. Nancy Simmons
Dr. Susan Tsang

Dr. Susan Tsang
American Museum of Natural History

I am a Research Associate at the AMNH and the National Museum of the Philippines. My research is focused on the evolution and biogeography of Southeast Asian flying foxes, with collaborations in conservation and disease ecology. By day, I work as a consultant through my consulting firm, Biodiversitas Global, to address global conservation challenges and policy, particularly in wildlife trafficking. I engage in bat conservation through community conservation projects to address hunting of flying foxes, and also serve on the steering committee of the Southeast Asian Bat Conservation Research Unit to address larger capacity building and assessment/policy needs.

Dr. Christian Voigt
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research

I am a wildlife biologist working as the department head at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife research in Berlin, Germany. I am interested in all kinds of questions related to bats, ranging from basic to applied research.
See www.batlab.de or www.leibniz-IZW.de for more details.

Dr. Christian Voigt
Lisa Worledge

Lisa Worledge
Bat Conservation Trust

Lisa Worledge is Head of Conservation Services at the Bat Conservation Trust, the UK’s national charity for bats. Lisa joined BCT in May 2011 as Partnerships Officer and was promoted to Head of Conservation Services in April 2016. Lisa line manages BCT's Bat Groups Officer, Scottish Officer, Wales Officer, Training Manager, the two Helpline Managers and the Bats in Churches (BiC) Project Training & Survey Officer. She also sits on the Steering Group for the BiC Project.
Her interest in bats was first sparked by a bat walk with the Birmingham and Black Country Bat Group (one of over 80 bat groups across the UK) in 2008. This is Lisa’s second career having worked in the IT industry for 13 years. After completing a BSc in Ecology & Conservation (Hons) at Coventry University, Lisa worked as an ecologist and as the coordinator for the Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull Local Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership. Lisa has been a Natural England Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor since 2011. She completed an MSc in Biological Recording with the University of Birmingham in 2012.
Lisa has some interesting additional aspects to her role including being the primary contact at BCT for bats and diseases (in which capacity she is involved with the IUCN Bat Steering Group’s OneHealth Working Group), and a project to implement a centralised database for ringed bats and guidelines for bat ringing (financially supported by bat groups and bat ringers). Lisa enjoys giving talks and running a variety of training workshops (she is delighted to be a tutor on the bats module on her old MSc Programme!).

Dr. DeeAnn Reeder
Bucknell University

Dr. Reeder is bat biologist who studies disease ecology, behavior, physiology, and conservation. Her current efforts focus on the relationships between bat health, ecosystem health and human disease risk in the bats of Central and East Africa. She has also worked extensively on  understanding of the ecological physiology of the deadly wildlife disease White-nose Syndrome (WNS) in North American bats. Lastly, Dr. Reeder holds a research position at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. In addition to her bat research, she is recognized internationally for her studies of mammal biodiversity, especially in South Sudan.

Dr.DeeAnn Reeder