Volume 37, Issue 1, 2018

The Future of Bat Conservation

2017 BCI Scholars Announced


Paula Iturralde-Pólit examines two Spix's disk-winged bats (Thyroptera tricolor)
during her field work.
Courtesy of Stanimira Deleva

Bat Conservation International is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Student Research Scholarship for Global Bat Conservation Priorities. This scholarship seeks to fund enterprising student scholars, whose graduate research focuses on important topics that can inform bat conservation around the world.

The 2017 scholars consist of nine young men and women from seven different countries. Their research is of great importance to the scientific community and bats alike, representing the future of bat conservation.

“We had an incredible pool of applicants this year for our BCI student research scholarship program,” said Winifred Frick, PhD, BCI’s Chief Scientist. “It is inspiring to see how many talented students around the world are working to study and protect bats. Supporting students to build and share more knowledge about bats is one of the foundations of BCI’s mission.”

Cullen Geiselman, PhD, Chair of the BCI Board of Directors and 2007 Scholarship recipient explained, “The impact of BCI’s student scholarships cannot be overstated. Since the first one was awarded in 1990, these small injections of support have helped to launch hundreds of careers in bat biology and conservation, from Argentina to New Zealand. This is our next generation of leaders.”

In addition to the scholarship, three recipients were selected for additional honors.

The 2017 Women in Conservation Science Honor was awarded to Paula Iturralde-Pólit, who is studying the effects of climate change on insectivorous bats of neotropical montane forests in Costa Rica.

“The Women in Science Honor is also a strong motivation to keep fighting to achieve optimal management strategies for bats, and reach audiences beyond science with conservation messages through storytelling,” wrote Iturralde-Pólit.

The Merlin Tuttle Bat Conservation Honor, named in honor of BCI’s founder, recognizes a student whose work addresses important conservation issues. Fernando Javier Montiel Reyes was the recipient of this honor for his work studying the insect suppression service by insectivorous bats on walnut crops in Chihuahua, Mexico.

And in Nepal, Babita Gurung was the recipient of the Verne & Marion Read Family Honor for her work recording acoustic surveys and diets of bats. Her research will serve as a baseline for future research at Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA). This award is given to a student who inspires education and community action to protect bats around the world, as well as addressing critical conservation needs.

“This award means a lot to me,” wrote Gurung. “My dream and interest to develop my career as a bat researcher has come true today because of the opportunity given by BCI. It really inspired and galvanized me to contribute my efforts on bat research.”

Congratulations to all the 2017 scholars!

All articles in this issue: