Welcome to Adventures in Bat Science!

I thought I would start by introducing everyone to what this blog is about, why I decided to create it, and then let you know what sort of things I’ll be attempting to post!

My name is Maisy and I am now a MSci Zoology student at the university of Exeter. Anyone who knows me will know I love bats; even without trying, bats will creep into almost every conversation I have. It has been a lifelong obsession – when I was just 2, I watched a documentary on bats and my life changed forever. From then on, I decided I was going to save the bats.

A black and white illustration of a wrinkle-faced bat
An image of the wrinkle-faced bat (Centurio senex)

So why bats? When people ask me that, I get stumped for words. So many things ping into my head that it’s hard to get it out all at once: their insane longevity1,2, their enigmatic immune systems3, their wonderful social behaviours4, not to mention their massive contribution to biodiversity*, pest control5, pollination6 and seed dispersal7! And of course, they’re just plain cute! (Yes, all of them, even Centurio senex (see pic) – I have a blanket with one of them on**). On a slightly sadder and more pressing note, bats really really need our help. Like a lot of animals in the Anthropocene***, bats are under threat from so many different things. Everything from habitat destruction8 to horrible diseases like white nose syndrome9. How can we help the bats? How, I thought, could I change things?

And that’s where this blog comes in! It began, originally, as the title of an children’s activity sheet that I designed for the Bat Conservation Trust’s children’s magazine, the Young Batworker. It’s the same magazine I used to read as a child, so being a regular contributor is a dream come true! After designing three ‘Adventures in Bat Science’ pages, I thought why not communicate some of this awesome science to adults too? The only downside is that adults tend not to appreciate colouring-in pages quite as much, so I’d have to skip those… (Although if you want them, just say!). And so here it is, ‘Adventures in Bat Science’ – the blog!

My aim for this blog is to introduce people into the exciting world of bats and bat science. I plan to raise awareness of the issues bats face, celebrate as many individual bat species as possible, and communicate science in a more fun, chatty way (but still being as scientifically accurate as possible!). I’ve never written a blog before so, for me, this will be as much an adventure into the world of bat science, as it is an adventure into the world of science blogging! Constructive criticism would be awesome!

So yeah, that’s all from me! Stay tuned for more unusual bat facts, funky science and of course, heaps of bat pics! You can also check out a talk I gave on bats in this video below:

And also keep your eyes peeled for a chance to participate in the Master’s research survey I’ll be conducting soon! I need as many people from around the world to participate!

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* – There are over 1,300 species worldwide and they are the second largest order of mammals after rodents

** – Thanks mum!

*** – The era of humans

  1. Podlutsky et al. 2005 | 10.1093/gerona/60.11.1366
  2. Wilkinson & South 2002 | 10.1046/j.1474-9728.2002.00020.x
  3. Baker & Murcia 2014 | 10.3390/v6041564
  4. Ratcliffe & ter Hofstede | 10.1098/rsbl.2004.0252
  5. Boyles et al. 2011 | 10.1126/science.1201366
  6. Withgott 1999 | 10.2307/1313643
  7. Shilton et al. 1999 | 10.1098/rspb.1999.0625
  8. Mickleburgh et al. 2002 | 10.1017/S0030605302000054
  9. Blehert et al. 2009 | 10.1126/science.1163874

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Follow the adventures on:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AdventuresinBatScience/

Twitter: @AdventuresBat

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/adventuresinbatscience/

Or drop me an email if you have any questions: adventuresinbatscience@gmail.com

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