This project creates a website where scientists and the public work together to study the behavior of lesser long-nosed bats as the bats enter and exit a roost located in Arizona. Participants watch videos and identify the behaviors they see.
The Talk section provides a forum for collaboration and discussion. All participants are encouraged to post interesting behaviors they find, share comments about their observations, or ask questions about the project. Educational resources and links to other bat-related websites are also available.
Scientists know relatively little about the behavior of many North American bat species in their native environments. That is because bat behaviors are hard to study in the wild. Bats tend to be small, active at night when it is hard to see them, and easily disturbed when they are in their roosts.
Most research around bat roosts focuses on timing (when bats exit the roost in the evening or return in the morning) and how often they come and go during the night. Little to no research focuses on what the bats are doing as they come and go. Scientists know that many species of bats will spend time flying in circles either inside the roost or outside the roost. But little is known beyond that general observation.
Studying bat behaviors in the wild is becoming easier thanks to improvements in technology. Infrared and near infrared cameras are now able to remotely record bat behaviors in and around bat roosts. However, one study can produce thousands of hours of video. Someone has to watch all those videos and identify the behaviors.
We are asking the public to help us watch the videos and record the behaviors they see because lots of eyes can watch the videos faster than just one or two scientists. By working together, we can process the videos faster and learn more about the bats’ behaviors.
One exciting aspect of the project is that there is so much to learn about bat behaviors in the wild. This leaves lots of room for discovery and participants may notice new behaviors that scientists didn’t know about.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1223908. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.