Bat Shadow

Glass frog that hopped onto May Dixon while she processed an interesting bat

Low morning with lots of computer stuff. Nice and rainy out but still couldn’t sleep. Things brightened up with brief chat with Kitty and then initial interviews and shadowing of Toni.

Today is Toni’s full induction to my research. We go over the papers and what we plan to do. Then I shadow her daily work. She walks around houses in the neighborhood where they have weight monitoring stations set up coupled with RFID readers for bats coming and going. She climbs up ladders under these stilted houses to change the batteries and collect their data.

Next, we visit her flight cages next to the woods. She shows off the full area where she will test bat decision making under sleep deprivation conditions. The bats will move through simple maze in the first cage, through a connecting hallway, and then through a complex maze in order to get to the fake robotic tungara frog signaling food. The tricky problem we are thinking of now, is how to keep the bats awake in the least stressful manner.

This is part of a much larger research project studying the effect of sleep across many different animals. The awesome Barrett Klein, whom I met the previous summer and discussed paint pens with, has already done such experiments with honeybees and wasps. For these he used his insect inseminator, which consisted of magnets glued to backs which could be wirelessly agitated by large magnets outside the nest. I found out about this when I sent him my recipe for magnetic ants last fall.