Research shows that bats have personality

Quinn Webber

Quinn Webber, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

UWinnipeg graduate student Quinn Webber earned the Bat Research News award for outstanding platform presentation at the North American Society for Bat Research’s (NASBR) 45th Annual Research Symposium held in Monterey, California. His research titled Personality Affects Pathogen Dynamics in Bats, highlights the importance of individual differences in behaviour, otherwise known as animal personality, for pathogen transmission and acquisition in wildlife populations. This research has implications for wildlife conservation as well as human public health.

“Quinn has done really cutting-edge research on behaviour and infectious disease for his MSc project and gave an outstanding talk at NASBR,” said Dr. Craig Willis, UWinnipeg Associate Professor, Biology and Quinn’s supervisor. “It was great to see him recognized. Students can only enter the NASBR student competition once per degree so Quinn was competing against many finishing PhD students. To me this speaks volumes about Quinn and his work in particular but also the quality of student research and graduate students in UWinnipeg’s science graduate programs.”

The North American Society for Bat Research (NASBR) is a society dedicated to the promotion and development of the scientific study of bats (Chiroptera) in all its branches, including conservation and public education and the conference attracts close to 450 delegates from all over the world.

“With the guidance of Dr. Willis in combination with the exceptional research atmosphere within our lab and the program, it has allowed me to flourish as a young scientist,” expressed Webber. “Although my recent award is a “personal” accomplishment, I think it reflects very highly on the Bioscience program as well as The University of Winnipeg as an institution. Without the fantastic support, guidance and enthusiasm from folks in my lab as well as in the department winning this award would not have been possible.”

You can help support research like Quinn’s by donating to the Bat Lab’s crowdfunding campaign! The Bat Lab at UWinnipeg is testing innovative approaches to help increase survival and reproduction for the few bats that survive the winter with the devastating disease white-nose syndrome (WNS). They have received partial funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Species at Risk Research Fund of Ontario, but more funds are needed to support talented students like Quinn working on this ambitious project.

Visit the team’s crowdfunding page at Bat Lab where you can see a short video and description of the project. Your tax-deductible donations can help save bats from WNS. You can also help by sharing the crowdfunding page on social media. If you have any questions please email batwatch@outlook.com.

You can also join UWinnipeg’s Bat Team. In addition to donating, you can also help by becoming a scientist yourself. UWinnipeg’s Bat Lab is recruiting ‘citizen scientists’ from across Manitoba and Ontario to join the Neighbourhood Bat Watch and report the locations and sizes of summer colonies of bats. This is a critical first step in the conservation of bats in North America. Visit the Neighbourhood Batwatch website to learn more about bats in central Canada, register a colony on your property, and learn how to enter your own scientific data.

MEDIA CONTACT
Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E: n.ibrahim@uwinnipeg.ca

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