The Echo

The Next Generation

Published on January 17, 2018
Written by Katie Jepson

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.

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

"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," said Cullen Geiselman, PhD, Chair of the BCI Board of Directors and 2007 Scholarship Recipient.

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

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

“The Women in Science Honors 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,” writes Iturralde-Polit.

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. 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, " writes Gurung.

Congratulations to all the 2017 scholars!