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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Bats in Harm's Way

Bats are the second most-diverse group of mammals, with over 1200 species found world-wide. They occupy diverse natural habitats, from tropical rainforests to the prairies and northern (boreal) forests. But they also occur in urban areas, with at least six species found in Calgary. This talk will introduce some of the fascinating biology of these hard-to-study animals: how do they locate and capture prey; as nocturnal animals, how do they make a living in the North with such short nights; do they really live up to 40 years; how do we study them and why is it important to do so? Some of the novel threats some bats face will also be discussed, such as white-nose syndrome and fatalities at wind-energy turbines.

Speaker:  Dr. Robert Barclay is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary. For over 30 years, he and his students have been studying the ecology, behaviour and conservation of various mammals and birds, although the focus of most of their research is bats. Their research has involved extensive field work in various parts of Alberta, BC, Yukon, and Northwest Territories, as well as Australia, South Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. The questions they ask focus on understanding basic biology and applying that knowledge to applied issues involving forestry and forest fires, wind energy, and climate change.

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