Social calls in Greater Spear-nosed bats

Ephemeral Resource Adaptations Research Group

What’s the project about?
Bats often use social information to coordinate foraging on ephemeral resources. One famous example of that is the greater spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus hastatus, on Trinidad. We are interested in how social behaviours vary across a species' range depending on the local food landscape and for this purpose we study this bat in Panama. This bachelor project aims to understand if and how P. hastatus use social information (frequency of social calls) during the different seasons of the year, and relate this to the departure and return patterns of the bats during each season.


  • Understand what social calls look like and learn to identify them.
  • Extract the social calls from the audio recordings and manually count them (method is established in Dina's lab).
  • Manually annotate timing of departures and returns of all the group members at the roost on videos.

We predict that screech calls are only produced during the dry season, when the bats feed on food (especially the nectar of blooming trees) that is hard to find but can be shared and not during the rest of the year. The screech calls should then be correlated with coordinated group bats departures. If you like the idea of hearing bat vocalizations and looking at many hours of cute bats on video, in addition to the questions, this is your project.

Who can apply?
The project is available to BSc and MSc students

Who should I contact?
Dina Dechmann and Camila Calderon, Ephemeral Resource Adaptations Research Group

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