The Echo
Women in Bat Conservation: DeeAnn M. Reeder

The Echo

Women in Bat Conservation: DeeAnn M. Reeder

Published on March 30, 2015

DeeAnn Marie ReederName: DeeAnn Marie Reeder

Title: Professor

Organization: Bucknell University

Female Conservation Hero:

Jane Goodall – her passion for conservation, which extends well beyond chimpanzees, is truly inspiring.

What is your focus in bat research?

My research and conservation interests are broad, and lie at the intersections of bat biodiversity, ecophysiology and behavior, and disease ecology.  Currently, my study systems include White-nose Syndrome (WNS) in North American bats and disease ecology in African fruit bats. In the WNS research, the many talented members of my lab study alterations in thermoregulatory and other behaviors in affected bats, as well as their immune responses to the fungal infection that causes WNS. In my work in fruit bats and flying foxes, I am interested in understanding how external factors (like food availability and seasonality) and internal factors (like sex and reproductive condition) affect bat physiology and behavior, especially in relation to health and disease status. In addition to my research in comparative mammalian physiology and behavior, I have an ongoing interest in mammalian taxonomy, biodiversity, and conservation. In support of this interest I manage the Mammal Species of the World project through my affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution and conduct yearly biodiversity surveys and conservation activities in the poorly-studied regions of South Sudan. Click herefor more information about my research.

Northern long-eared bat with white nose syndromeWhat is the most satisfying part of your involvement with bat conservation and research?

My research and conservation work occurs both in the United States and in South Sudan. While white-nose syndrome has been emotionally and energetically difficult to study (lots of all-nighters) – this work is likely the most important of my career and I am proud to be playing a significant role in understanding the response of bats to this unprecedented wildlife disease. In South Sudan, I am delighted to study biodiversity and disease ecology – and to impact bat conservation through habitat protection and education about the risks of bushmeat hunting and consumption.  In both places, one of my most favorite things to do is to interact with the public to teach them all about my favorite animals: how amazing they are, how important they are to ecosystems all around the world, and why we need to conserve them. 

How have you been involved with Bat Conservation International?  

I have been a proud member of BCI for a number of years. I have also been pleased to partner with them in their efforts to combat white-nose syndrome in North American bats. I am especially excited about BCI’s increasing presence in Africa, focused on raising up and supporting African bat conservationists. 

If you could have one incredible animal adaptation, what would it be?

Flight and echolocation – of course (sorry – that is two incredible adaptations – both in bats!)

Do you have any advice for people who want to get involved in bat conservation?

Learn all that you can – and make sure that your conservation actions are driven by scientific data. Volunteer your time with a variety of projects and think both locally and globally. 

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I did my BA in Zoology at the University of California at Berkeley and my MS and PhD in Animal Behavior at the University of California at Davis. While I was introduced to bat field research as an undergraduate in Costa Rica, I studied New World monkeys for my PhD. I turned to bats in my postdoctoral study with Dr. Tom Kunz at Boston University 14 years ago and have been studying bats ever since.




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