Every night in Texas, vast swarms of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from caves to dine, swarming in dense clouds and plucking huge amounts of insects out of the air. They dip, swirl and turn on a dime to chase their prey, while somehow avoiding collisions with each other. To study how they do this, bat researchers from Boston University built a quadcopter to fly with them and purposefully get in their faces.
Bats — you know we love ‘em — have a remarkable ability to turn, swirl and dive on a dime while in mid-flight, dodging obstacles and grabbing food from the air. Engineers would like to give robots and autonomous vehicles this ability, and they’re turning to bat ears for inspiration.
Biologists are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether the little brown bat — formerly one of the most common mammals in North America — should be added to the endangered species list, bat conservationists said Thursday.
Bat Con 2010 could have been a decidedly depressing science meeting, with days full of papers discussing bat deaths from white-nose syndrome, wind turbines and killings by superstitious people. But not everything was doom-and-gloom.
This is probably the only weekend of the year when people think about bats. Their mysterious, dark nature makes them essential Halloween decorations, and this perennial association with creepiness ensures most people think of them as scary and unwanted.
Hoping to shift that perception, bat conservation groups and the United Nations Environment Programme designated 2011-2012 as the “Year of the Bat,” and kicked it off this week.
DENVER — Bad news for bats: Mother Nature is not the only thing wiping them out. Anthropogenic climate change and renewable energy technology are also wreaking havoc on bat populations throughout North America. Biologists are looking for ways to protect bats not only from a devastating fungus, but from wind turbines and global warming.
Just in time for the annual North American bat summit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had some good news — there’s finally a plan for how to fight white-nose syndrome, which is killing hundreds of thousands of bats across the continent.
The plan coordinates more than 50 state and federal agencies to study etiology and epidemiology, disease surveillance and more. White-nose has spread through 11 states since its discovery four years ago and is expected to reach the midwest and west this winter.
DENVER — What’s a crisis if not an opportunity? Scores of graduate students reporting new research at a bat conference this week shows the two are tightly bound.
Students are working on the front lines of one of conservation biology’s biggest challenges: The widespread death of bats from white-nose syndrome. The fast-moving fungus, which is expected to infiltrate much of the midwest and west this winter, is causing equally brisk priority shifts in academic institutions across the continent.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.