The Bats of Kenya: assessing the species limits of cryptic species
2013 REU Project:
Kenya straddles the equator and mega-diverse, being world-famous for the “Big Five” and other charismatic megafauna. But a quarter of its mammal species (>100!) are bats, which are known to serve vital ecological roles, including pollination, seed dispersal, and insectivory, and are important to both agriculture and public health. Developed with the help of the National Museums of Kenya and the Kenya Wildlife Service, The Bats of Kenya will detail the distribution, status, diagnosis, and ecological habits of all these species. For such a large fauna, determining species limits is perhaps the most challenging task, one aided by analyses in the field (vocalizations and habits), museum (conventional and geometric morphometrics, ectoparasites), and the laboratory (DNA sequences).
Research methods and techniques: Interns will be trained in museum collection management, morphological data collection, specimen preparation, and data analysis. Interns will be taught to analyze their data on species limits and relationships. With access to data on vocalizations and ectoparasite collected in the field, interns will test the existence of cryptic (or currently unrecognized) species in this fauna.
Curator/Advisors: Dr. Bruce Patterson (MacArthur Curator, Zoology/Mammals) and Dr Paul Webala (Research Associate, Zoology/Mammals)