Brock FentonWestern Science


Ectophylla alba
Ectophylla alba. [photo: Brock Fenton]

I am currently involved in several studies of variation in the vocalizations produced by bats. The work includes assessment of the variation, and experiments designed to explore its biological importance. The research has focussed on several species of free-tailed bats: Tadarida teniotis, that occurs from the Mediterranian to China, Otomops martiensseni, which occurs widely in Africa, and Molossus molossus, a common species in the new world tropics.

We also will extend this work to another free-tailed bat, Eumops perotis, which is widespread in the new world tropics. We also work with others on studies of the echolocation calls of mouse-eared bats (Myotis) from different parts of North America. The field work has included sessions in the Yukon and the Queen Charlotte Islands. In January 1995, funds from the National Geographic Society will allow us to work in Madagascar with Myzopoda aurita a species that occurs only there.

Other specific projects are presented in conjunction with graduate students.

Communicating with the public about science is an important part of the activities in the laboratory. We regularly visit classrooms and other venues to tell people about bats. Bats are convenient animals for presenting information about the nature of science – what it is and how it works.