Notes from the Field: Fruit Bat Ecology and Forest Conservation in Tanzania

Sustainability Studies @ Roosevelt University

This guest post is from Roosevelt University senior Sustainability Studies major and Environmental Science minor Nicole Burns, who went to Tanzania this May as a part of RU biology professor Norbert Cordeiro’s Conservation Biology Africa 369 class. Here Nicole reports on the field work on fruit bats and forest ecology she and other students did in Tanzania’s East Usambara Mountains.

Seed dispersal and pollination by frugivorous bats is vital in tropical ecosystems to facilitate forest regeneration yet is rarely studied, especially in East Africa and, more specifically, within the East Usambara mountain range in northern Tanzania. In order to better understand how dispersal behavior by bats is affected by environmental degradation (i.e., land developed for agriculture) and to gather quantitative data on what species are primarily dispersed and how far the seeds are traveling, fellow SUST senior Josh Campbell, biology major Carmen Alvarez, and I performed two relevant experiments…

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