Category Archives: Science Communication

Five awesome bat videos for National Bat Week!

Bat week 2014 has just begun and already some amazing bat videos are being shared around the web. Here are five of my favorites that I have come across so far.

1.  Batman and Superman join forces to help save the bats

Hollywood is finally joining the crusade to save our bats! Stars of the new Batman and Superman movies,  Zack Snyder, Ben Affleck and Amy Adams, tell us why it’s important to save bats. Check out the Save the Bats Campaign.

2. Bats: Wonders of the Night

If you collected every species of mammal on earth, one in four would be a bat. Isn’t that amazing? The team at It’s Ok to Be Smart explores the world of bats and visits the largest bat colony in the world —Bracken Cave in Texas.

3. What is happening to North America’s bats? Learn about White-nose Syndrome.

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease caused by a fungus, Geomyces destructans, that is threatening cave-hibernating bat populations in North America. Learn more about white-nose syndrome and the efforts made by U.S. National Park Service respond to this deadly disease.

4. Are You Afraid Of Bats? Meet a ghost bat!

Bats are often portrayed as villainous, dark natured animals but in reality even the strangest of the bat family have their place. Meet Patrick, an Australian ghost bat who definitely does not live up to his scary name.

5. Into the Bat Caves of Kenya: Pt. I

This video made me so jealous! Join Emily Graslie from Chicago’s Field Museum as she  accompanies bat researcher Bruce Patterson on a field expedition into the bat caves of Kenya. Just awesome.

Have you seen any other awesome bat videos this week? Let me know so I can share them!

Why do Bats Transmit so many Diseases like Ebola?

The connection between bats and diseases that can harm humans has been a sensitive topic for most bat scientists and conservationists for decades. As a scientist it is not an easy discussion to have with the public, as we still know very little about the relationship between these zoonotic diseases and bats. This, coupled with the public’s inherent mistrust of bats due to engrained cultural beliefs and myths that bats are evil or dirty, makes rational discussion of this important topic all the more difficult.

This is why I applaud Minute Earth’s efforts with their new video exploring the connection between bats and disease. When they came to me a month or so ago for advice, like most bat scientists, I was at first skeptical and defensive. Many scientists in the past, including myself, have had to deal with the trap most media fall into – sensationalism and fear mongering . To finally see science communication on this topic that is not inflammatory yet does not shy away from the issues is refreshing.

Thank you Minute Earth for showing the scientific community that communication about this sensitive topic can be done in a fun and approachable way.