Category: Uncategorized

Echolocation and bat evolution–new study

Hi,

Did you all catch word of this new study? I wish there were pictures with this article. Maybe someone has interest in contacting the researchers to see if they have visuals they would be willing to share?

If you search Facebook for emma teeling bat research, you get lots of links to talks and some images, etc. Not specific to Brazilian free-tailed bats, but about the cutting edge of genetic research on bats.

Bats without sonar shed light on evolution of echolocation

Bats are perhaps best known for their sophisticated use of sound: Like a ship’s sonar, the flying mammals make high-pitched noises and listen for returning echoes to navigate and hunt, an ability known as echolocation. But one family—the fruit bats—doesn’t use this sort of advanced tracking. Now, a new study suggests that all bats were once able to echolocate in this fashion, providing new evidence in a decades-long debate and shedding light on the origins of bat sonar.

Evolutionary biologists have long been divided over how bats developed their sonar. Fruit bats are closely related to a group of bats that are expert echolocators. Some say this means that advanced echolocation evolved once; an ancient bat developed the ability and passed it on to successive bat species, but fruit bats lost it along the way. Others argue that advanced echolocation evolved twice—once in an ancient ancestor bat, and again in the close relatives of fruit bats—and that fruit bats never had it.

Scientists have tried settling the question by looking for hard-to-find fossils of ancient bats, and by examining the genes of modern bats for clues about their past lifestyle. But Emma Teeling, an evolutionary biologist at University College Dublin, and colleagues from Shenyang Agricultural University in China, looked at a different window into the past: modern bat ears.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/bats-without-sonar-shed-light-evolution-echolocation

First Rove

I did my first rove with the infrared camera and iPad yesterday.  It worked well at Bat Cave to do the fly through manually for visitors.  They really liked being able to see where the bats go since we keep that part of the cave dark.  There were some logistical problems with the two way traffic, but that is probably going to be a trial and error process to figure out what works for each of us.

Accessing research articles

Hey iSWOOP Friends,

I recently learned that you can join informalscience.org for free and then access journal articles through their Research tab. They subscribe to EBSCO, which affords access to many publications. I’m curious to see what environmental education journals are available. You may find some but not all scientific journals relevant to your work as well.

Please share any discoveries you make here.

While I can’t tell you more about EBSCO, I can tell you that informalscience.org is supported by the National Science Foundation. It’s the website for CAISE, Center for Advancing Informal Science Education. On the website you can learn about all kinds of projects happening in outside of school, in museums, zoos, parks, after-school programs, libraries, and more. I get an email from them once a month, an electronic newsletter. No other strings attached that I know of.

Martha

Experiments and Replication: How much of published scientific research is false?

Hi, I just finished listening to a Planet Money segment that made me think of the conversation the iSWOOP group had in December 2015.

http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510289/planet-money

Check out the podcast from January 15, 2016.

How much of published scientific research is false? Scientists are trying to figure it out.

Help in developing LIDAR program

Hey all,

I have been considering developing my I-SWOOP program about the LIDAR scanning technology. However, I am struggling with finding the right amount of content that should be involved.

My thoughts so far:

Introduce program with take a stand  activity to discuss people’s thoughts/feelings on use of technology in National Parks.

Introduce NPS mission, and ask audience if they think that technology can play a role in upholding this mission. If so, how?  Discuss.

Share with them what LIDAR scanning technology: What LIDAR stands for, how it works,  What has it been used for thus far, and how it enables scientists to learn about the cave/what they have already used the technology for. ask audience members how they think that this can be used to uphold the mission.

Ask audience if they were scientists, what questions would they want to answer with this technology? Might there be other research that this technology can be used to augment (i.e various bat population models to see if previous estimates were realistic or not).

Any thoughts/feedback on what I have so far? Additions you would suggest?

I feel least confident in having the knowledge of how LIDAR works- who developed it, and what prompted scientists to start using it.  I know that the goal of I-SWOOP isn’t to impart knowledge as much as engage visitors with asking questions and discovering things themselves, but I would like more knowledge base, so I can better steer the program.

Thanks for the help!

APG

Looking for more LIDAR substance

Hey all,

I have been considering developing my I-SWOOP program about the LIDAR scanning technology. However, I am struggling with the content that should be involved.

My thoughts so far:

Introduce program with take a stand  activity to discuss people’s thoughts/feelings on use of technology in National Parks.

Introduce NPS mission, and ask audience if they think that technology can play a role in upholding this mission. If so, how?  Discuss.

Share with them what LIDAR scanning technology: What LIDAR stands for, how it works,  What has it been used for thus far, and how it enables scientists to learn about the cave/what they have already used the technology for. ask audience members how they think that this can be used to uphold the mission.

Ask audience if they were scientists, what questions would they want to answer with this technology? Might there be other research that this technology can be used to augment (i.e various bat population models to see if previous estimates were realistic or not).

Any thoughts/feedback on what I have so far? Additions you would suggest?

I feel least confident in having the knowledge of how LIDAR works- who developed it, and what prompted scientists to start using it.  I know that the goal of I-SWOOP isn’t to impart knowledge as much as engage visitors with asking questions and discovering things themselves, but I would like more knowledge base, so I can better steer the program.

Thanks for the help!

APG

Mounting an immune response to WNS

Hi, I’m at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference with Tatjana, Nick and Louise. Here are a couple notes from a talk I went to yesterday. It all went by so fast, that I didn’t get a ton of details, but I know you field lots of questions about White Nose Syndrome, so thought it would be useful to pass on some information on this subject.

If you’re interested, you might want to contact the researchers. See below.

Researchers include: Richardson, CS, Forbes, Mewherter, Pong, and Suciu.

Bats are ideal models for studying impact on metabolic rate of immune function. They thermo-regulate and then they have to use energy to fly and for pregnancy, so those activities can be interesting variables.

Expect trade-offs. If you mount an immune system response, you might not have as much energy for other things.

Little brown bats have high rates of mortality from WNS, esp compared to Big brown bats.

Finding—metabolic rate is higher for post-infection recovery of wing damage repair compared to the initial immune response to the fungus.

How did they know?

Used respirometry to determine metabolic rate. Removes air from a small chamber to analyze it.

Researchers looked at white spots on wings which indicate scarring and new tissue and grouped them into three groups so they could look at the metabolic rates at different stages of recovery.

 

16-3  Monday, Jan. 4 10:45  The Impact on Metabolism and Immune function of the Immune Response of Bats to White Nose Syndrome RICHARDSON, C.S.*; FONTES, G.; MEWHERTER, J.; PONG, T.; SUCIU, N.; Northeastern University; Northeastern University; Lesley University; Northeastern University; Northeastern University c.richardson@neu.edu http://www.northeastern.edu/cos/faculty/christopher-richardson/

White-nose syndrome (WNS) has decimated populations of hibernating bats in the U.S. Among the bat species affected by WNS, Eptesicus fuscus (big brown bat) appear to be the least affected while M. lucifugus (little brown myotis) appear to be one of the most affected. Understanding the energetic cost of immune function in M. lucifugus and E. fuscus is important for understanding the immune response and recovery of bats to WNS. We examined basal metabolic rate (BMR), an important measure of energy expenditure, and bacterial killing ability of blood (BKA), an important measure of innate immune ability, in both species. WNS can damage a bat’s wing, which can impact flight cost and energy use. Additionally, the extent of wing damage reflects the course of immune response and recovery to the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus, the cause of WNS. We hypothesized that wing damage would be positively correlated with BMR. After accounting for body mass, little brown myotis with moderate wing damage had a higher BMR than little brown myotis with both minimal and severe damage. Thus, wing damage due to WNS is energetically costly in little brown myotis. However, in little brown myotis, BMR was highest during the recovery phase to wing damage (when damage is moderate), but not during the phase of active exclusion of fungus from wing tissue (when damage is severe). We found BKA was positively correlated with the extent of wing damage in little brown myotis. Thus, complement protein activity is greatest during the active exclusion of fungus. Our initial analysis suggests that the impact of WNS on BMR and BKA is less in big brown bats than in little brown myotis.

 

While looking for a link, I found a related study.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151001153036.htm

Feedback on PD Sessions; a thank you to Pam and Michael

Thanks everyone, for your feedback, enthusiasm, and suggestions on the iSWOOP professional development sessions you experienced last week. With such a condensed sessions, we rushed through or skipped altogether some key points. Some of you on Monday/Tuesday noted that we didn’t get you setting up the cart–a big oversight. The Wed/Thursday crew never got a walk-through of the blog. Apologies. Given that we didn’t get to touch on everything with everyone, we hope you’ll help each other out.

Related to the comment that there was no template or program outline shared telling you what we wanted to see, I want to acknowledge that there is no one right way to do iSWOOP. For each interpreter, the way to incorporate iSWOOP into their work with visitors feels a little different. In the folder you have an outline of Ellen’s program as one example. If you scroll down through the resources section of the blog you’ll find examples of other interpreters’ program outlines. Check them out if you want more ideas. The goal is the same: finding ways to make research at the park (or related to the park’s resources) a prominent and interactive part of the visitor experience to advance 1) science literacy; 2) to increase visual literacy; and 3) to increase personal connections to the resource management issues parks face.

WHY? What if the visitors tell you why? If we give them a heads-up and then air time, will they tell us why it’s important to talk about how many bats or stress and pup-raising or the shape or caves or the vortices wingtips make? If they don’t, you are as eloquent as anyone on this–to be more democratic in our funding and support for parks and science; to involve everyone in taking care of the planet, from parks to backyards to city blocks.

I’m looking forward to seeing your outlines and plans, to see which techniques you feel are a good match for communicating the science content, the researchers’ stories, the questions that are driving the science. (To upload, choose add media and you’ll get a prompt for dragging and dropping the file or you can email martha_merson@terc.edu and I will post them for you.)

Thanks again to Pam and to Michael for their support for these ongoing opportunities to connect the research at the park with you and the visitors you touch.

–Martha