Sleep in a social context

Ephemeral Resource Adaptations Research Group

What’s the project about?
Very little is known about how animals sleep in the wild, but it is becoming increasingly evident that for wild animals, sleep is a social phenomenon. On videos of groups of greater spear-nosed bats, Phyllostomus hastatus, in a cave in Panama you will determine how sleep is influenced by the presence of group members.


  • learn to use a video tracking software and calibrate it to track sleep
  • subsample videos to determine who is or isn't sleeping in harems of these bats
  • recording arrivals and departures of group members
  • Whenever possible identify the harem male

We predict that with more group members present bats feel safer and sleep more, but perhaps always only a subset of the group sleeps. Especially the male should spend more time vigilant (causing a cost) allowing the rest of the group to sleep more.
bats should sleep more during the day when the number of group members is constant, whereas at least part of the group is always gone at night and arrivals/departures of group members will disrupt.

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

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

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