Please excuse the cut off start.
How well do you know the bats of the Midwest? Let’s put your knowledge to the test: How many species of bats are there in Minnesota? Which are the most common? How many kinds are found around the world? What are the populations of bats like in the Midwest today, compared to 200 years ago? What happens to our local bats in winter?
So how did you do? The average Midwesterner would have a hard time answering these questions. Like most nocturnal organisms, bats are poorly known to the public. In this case, however, they are even poorly known to scientists. But once you get to know them, bats are amazing, important, charismatic, and even attractive (if you understand why they look the way they do!).
During this presentation, participants will discover some of the fascinating biology of bats and learn about some of the eight regularly-occurring species in Minnesota (darn, I let that answer slip out). Additionally, we will discuss some of the threats to their populations including white-nose fungus and briefly comment on the role of bats in the current pandemic.
Russ Benedict is a Professor of Biology at Central College in Pella, Iowa. He began watching birds at the age of 11 and was introduced to the world of bats during graduate school in Nebraska. In the nearly three decades since, he has captured thousands of bats in the Midwest, the east coast, and in Central America. He teaches classes on Mammalogy, Ornithology, Tropical Ecology, and Conservation Biology, and conducts research on bats and on prairie restoration.