OOS 13 - Conserving Bats to Ensure a Healthy Planet

Tuesday, August 9, 2011: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
16A, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Edward B. Arnett
Co-organizer: Kimberly Williams-Guillén
Moderator: Edward B. Arnett
As top predators, highly vagile seed dispersers, and pollinators of multiple tropical fruit crops, bats are essential to the health of our planet. The more than 1,200 species of bats, about one-fifth of all mammal species, are incredibly diverse and many scientists believe bats are "keystone" components of ecosystems, particularly in parts of the tropics and deserts; however, until recently we have had little quantitative data characterizing the multiple impacts of these vertebrates on their ecosystems. This session will explore the vital roles of bats in regard to biodiversity and ecosystem health, discuss traditional and emerging threats to their survival, and present conservation solutions to ensure their survival in a rapidly changing world. Bats are primary predators of night-flying insects, including many of the most damaging agricultural pests. Nearly a third of the world's bats feed on the fruit or nectar of plants and these bats are vital pollinators of countless plants, many of great economic value to local human economies. Bats also are essential seed dispersers; fruit-eating bats in the tropics, for example, disperse seeds that are critical to restoring cleared or damaged rainforests. Unfortunately, our emerging knowledge of the critical ecosystem services provided by these often overlooked mammals comes at a time of rapidly worsening threats to bat populations. Bat populations worldwide are in decline due to habitat loss, human persecution, and emerging diseases like white-nosed syndrome in North America, which has killed over a million bats since its discovery in 2006. Additionally, climate change undoubtedly will impact bat populations and ultimately influence the ecosystems that depend on their unique and critical niches. The session will include a keynote opening address, followed by innovative contemporary research documenting the critical role that bats play in maintaining overall ecosystem health. The session also will present contemporary evidence on emerging threats to bats, conservation challenges, and solutions to reverse declining population trends.
8:20 AM
8:40 AM
Seed dispersal and reforestation by bats in South American rain forests
Cullen Geiselman, Columbia University; Tatyana Lobova, Old Dominion University; Scott Mori, The New York Botanical Garden
9:00 AM
Foraging energetics and the redistribution of nutrients by Brazilian free-tailed bats
Jonathan D. Reichard, Boston University; Lauren E. Gonzalez, Boston University; Caitlin M. Casey, Boston University; Louise C. Allen, Boston University; Thomas H. Kunz, Boston University
9:20 AM
Bats, bugs and pecans: The role of insectivorous bats in a pecan agroecosystem in central Texas
Elizabeth C. Braun de Torrez, Boston University; Veronica A. Brown, The University of Tennessee; Thomas H. Kunz, Boston University; Gary F. McCracken, University of Tennessee
9:40 AM
9:50 AM
Emerging diseases and bats: Implications for conservation and ecosystem health
Amy S. Turmelle, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sergio Recuenco, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Charles E. Rupprecht, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
10:10 AM
Continent-wide conservation actions in the most bat speciose area in the world: The next 20 years
Rodrigo Medellin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Instituto de Ecología, UNAM
10:30 AM
Golf courses: An innovative opportunity for bat conservation
Megan A. Wallrichs, Delaware State University; Kevina Vulinec, Delaware State University
See more of: Organized Oral Session
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