Nocturnal success in a diurnal world: adaptations of bats to life in northern Canada

Dr Robert Barclay will present the Department of Biological Sciences seminar with a talk entitled, "Nocturnal success in a diurnal world: adaptations of bats to life in northern Canada".  

Although bats, the second most speciose group of mammals, have their greatest diversity in the tropics, some species occur well into northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia. As nocturnal mammals, these populations face unique challenges, including short growing seasons, short nights, and low temperatures. My students have been studying what adaptations northern populations of bats have that allow them to live and reproduce in northern Canada (above 60oN). I will present some of their results regarding the bats’ seasonal and nightly activity patterns, foraging and roosting behaviour, thermoregulation and reproduction. While our work focuses on understanding basic biology, I will also discuss implications related to climate change and the spread of white-nose syndrome, an introduced fungal disease killing millions of hibernating bats in North America.

Robert Barclay is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary in Canada. He is currently on Administrative Leave having survived five years as HOD. He is working at UCT with David Jacobs and his group on questions regarding the evolution, ecology, behaviour and conservation biology of bats.

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 - 13:00

Niven Library, John Day Building, Upper Campus, UCT