Conference logo designed by Claire Butchkoski. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

38th North American Symposium on Bat Research

  in Scranton, PA

22nd - 25th of October, 2008

Report on the
38th Annual North American Symposium on Bat Research

Gary G. Kwiecinski, Local Host, and G. Roy Horst, Program Director

The 35th Annual North American Symposium on Bat Research (NASBR) was held at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, Scranton, PA, 22-25 October 2008. Gary Kwiecinski (University of Scranton) served as the local host. Roy Horst served as Program Director. Three hundred and seventy-one registered participants attended the three-day conference. In addition to the regular participants, there were 27 local educators who attended the Teacher Workshop on Saturday.

Most meeting participants (60.4%) were affiliated with academic/research institutions: 13.5% were from private business or private consulting groups; 9.4% were from federal agencies; 8.1% state government agencies; 4.9% were from non-governmental zoos and parks; and 3.8% were individuals who attended simply because they were interested in bats. One third (33%) of meeting participants were students. The majority of NASBR participants were from North America:  83.8% from the 50 United States; 11.3% from Canada; and less than 1% each from Australia, Brasil, Costa Rica, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

One hundred and seventy-one scientific papers were presented at the Scranton meeting. Of the 171 scientific papers presented, 113 were platform presentations and 58 were poster presentations. Twenty-three platform papers were presented in a plenary Student Competition Session on Thursday. Other platform papers were presented in four concurrent sessions that began on Friday morning and continued through Saturday afternoon, and in two stand alone Special Symposia. A Wind Energy and Bats symposium was presented on Friday evening and a White Nose Syndrome symposium on Saturday morning. Fifty-eight posters were presented Thursday through Saturday with an author-attended session Friday afternoon.

Graduate and undergraduate students were invited to enter their platform or poster papers in a competition that judged the scientific merits of their research. A special awards committee headed by Tigga Kingston judged 23 student platform papers and 14 student poster presentations. Six cash prizes of were presented at the Saturday evening banquet. The award winners were:

Outstanding platform papers

Outstanding poster presentations

Generous monetary donations from Merlin Tuttle of Bat Conservation International, Margaret Griffiths of Bat Research News and of Basically Bats Wildlife Conservation Society, Inc., Roger Haagenson, Sherry Haagenson, and Allyson Walsh of Lubee Bat Conservancy, Emily Davis and Michael Warner of Speleobooks, and Kim Livengood and Roger Mandel, Titley Electronics made six of the awards possible. Donations from numerous individuals made the Karl F. Koopman award possible.

A new NASBR student event, Student Lunches with Bat Biologists, was initiated this year through the efforts of the Student Observers to the NASBR Board, Louise Allen and Miranda Milam-Dunbar. These social events included arranged luncheons for students and bat biologists. Several NASBR members acted as mentors representing a variety of fields of bat research. These lunches provided an opportunity for students to meet with peers from related fields and to chat and brainstorm with seasoned bat biologists, providing an opportunity for networking, collaborations, and/or information on graduate and post-doctoral positions. This successful event will continue at future NASBR meetings.

During the banquet, lifetime members of the NASBR were recognized. This honorific membership, nominations for which are made by individual NASBR members, is conferred by the Board of Directors "in recognition of a long and distinguished career in bat research or education about bats." Margaret and Tom Griffiths were named as Lifetime Members of the Society and were each presented with a plaque commemorating their lifetime membership and for their loyal service to NASBR. The three previously honored Lifetime Members of the NASBR are:  Jim Findley (1997), G. Roy Horst (2003), and John Winkelmann (2005). Another highlight of the banquet was the presentation of the Gerrit S. Miller, Jr. Award to Nancy Simmons of the American Museum of natural History, New York, New York.  The Gerrit S. Miller, Jr. Award is presented to persons "In recognition of outstanding service and contribution to the field of chiropteran biology," and is NASBR's highest honor.  Nancy joins a small group of distinguished individuals who have received this prestigious award. Special plaques were awarded to Walter Schwarz and Daniel Riskin in recognition of their service and contributions to designing and maintaining the NASBR registration system and web pages. A special presentation was made at the banquet by Marco Riccucci, Gruppo Italiano Ricerca Chirotteri, Pisa, Italy on the life of Lazzaro Spallanzani. One or more Spallanzani Fellowships may be awarded annually to assist persons outside of North America to attend the North American Symposium on Bat Research. For NASBR 38 in Scranton, Robert Kityo, Makarere University, Kampala University, Uganda was the Spallanzani Award recipient for 2008.

Pat Morton of The Nature Conservancy once again organized a special bat Teachers Workshop on Saturday morning of the conference. Scranton-area educators attended the workshop, as well as many NASBR members. This was the 12th year that Pat has graciously organized this workshop in conjunction with the annual NASBR. Bat Conservation International, Lubee Bat Conservancy, Organization for Bat Conservation, and Speleobooks provided generous donations to support the workshop.

The 2007-2008 Board of Directors (Roy Horst, Matina Kalcounis-Ruppell, Tigga Kingston, Rodrigo Medellin Legorreta, Arnulfo Moreno, Mandy Rodriquez-Duran, Maarten Vonhof, and John Winkelmann) and the Student Observers to the Board (Louise Allen and Miranda Milam-Dunbar) provided help and support in preparation for the meeting. Hal Baille (University of Scranton), Cal Butchkoski (Pennsylvania Game Commission), Blayne Gunderman (Acciona Energy) and Kim Livengood and Roger Mandel (Titley Electronics) provided generous support and sponsorship of receptions.

Sincerest gratitude and special "thanks" go to Tim Cannon, Maria Landis, Christine Koshel, and Greg Omerza for all their local committee help and hard work in making the 38th NASBR a very memorable and successful meeting. Finally, the Local Host and Program Director express sincerest thanks and appreciation to the entire NASBR membership for making the annual 38th NASBR meeting successful and memorable.

Respectfully submitted, 31 December 2008