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Small creatures with a big impact

Bats represent one of the most extraordinary, important, and understudied groups of animals on the planet. A greater understanding of bats will be critical for their conservation, well-being, and the health of the planet.  

About Us

A partnership takes flight

By partnering with the bat research community, we are actively creating opportunities that facilitate research into bats, both in the field and in the lab. Our efforts in data stewardship are generating long-term repositories for sharing bat research data and information in an accessible and open manner. Furthermore, we aim to raise awareness so that everyone can recognize the exceptional nature of bats and the importance of studying this group of mammals and protecting them, and our ecosystems through conservation efforts.

Who we are

The Bat Biology Foundation (BBF) is a unit of Paratus Sciences created to support and promote bats, bat research, and bat researchers for the public good.

The BBF will do this by (1) creating opportunities for research and researchers; (2) generating permanent data repositories to share bat research data; and (3) raising awareness of the importance of bats and bat research.



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Meike Mai

Project and Communications Coordinator


Nilima Leffers

Strategic Advisor

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Brian O'Toole

Operations officer


Sonja Vernes

Founding Director


Thomas Zwaka

Founding Director


Phil Ferro

Founding Director

Work with us
Screenshot_2022-07-20 Daniel Whitby ( danielwhitbybatman) • Instagram-Fotos und -Videos(4)


1. Expeditions to collect samples We fund select expeditions to collect high quality samples that fit the criteria described above. When we wre newly established, we already funded two expeditions in 2022, taking place in Malawi and Israel. In 2023, we launched a fieldwork and expedition grant programme, awarding five bat researchers going into the field 2023/2024. 

2. Sequencing from existing samples We work with you to transfer samples in your possession that fit the criteria described above and meet our traceabilty and quality standards. Do you have access to such samples? Then don't hesitate to reach out!

As part of our BBF mission, we aim to create opportunities for bat research and generate data that will contribute to our understanding of bats. In conjunction with the Bat1K consortium, we are working with researchers across the globe to further whole genome sequencing, assembly and annotation of bat species. To this end, we are facilitating the collection of bat samples from diverse families and species that have not yet been sequenced. We use these samples to perform genome sequencing to the highest standards, following Bat1K metrics and guidelines, and make the fully annotated sequences available to the public. We are particularly interested in rare species or those with unique physiological characteristics whose sequences will contribute to valuable insights for the bat community.


We can work with you in two ways to generate these sequences:


Expedition and Field Work Grant Program 2023


At BBF, we are committed to advancing the frontiers of bat research and conservation. Earlier this year, we proudly launched our much-anticipated Expedition and Field Work Grant Program 2023.

This year, our program is specially tailored to support early career scientist on their journey to conduct their own field work on bats. Our primary goal is to empower and equip researchers with the essential resources to conduct their fieldwork. In addition, our awardees play a crucial role in collecting our high quality bat samples for genome sequencing. They will collect a carefully selected list of species for us and receive authorship on the genome sequence publication (genome note). 

To ensure a fair selection procedure, we consulted six external grant reviewers who are absolute experts in the bat research world. Based on their insightful advice, the Bat Biology Foundation Team made the final selection of awardees.


We are more than pleased to announce our awardees to you, and to let you know all the exciting places they will go to! For more information on the expeditions, keep a close eye on our website and social media. We will keep you up to date with exciting status updates and allow you a glimpse into the expeditions.

-Join us celebrating the achievements of our awardees during their fieldwork! 


Alexa Sadier 

Research Scientist at UCLA, learn more about Alexa here


Fieldwork focus: adaptive evolution


Fieldwork location:

Dominican Republic


Elise Sivault 

PhD student, view more info on Elise here

Czech Academy of Sciences


Fieldwork focus: diet divergence


Fieldwork location:

Papua New Guinea

Francisco Castellanos

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Grad student, for more info on Francisco click  here

Texas Tech University


Fieldwork focus:

metabolic pathways


Fieldwork location:


Jorge Ortega & Cristina MacSwiney

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Asociación Mexicana de Mastozoología

Fieldwork focus:

echolocation, morphometrics


Fieldwork location:


William Douglas Carvalho

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Universidad Autonoma de Madrid


Fieldwork focus: pesticide levels


Fieldwork location: Brazil

Grant programme

2022 Expedition

Malawi expedition

In April 2022, the BBF funded a Conservation Research Africa (CRA) expedition to the Mulanje Mountain (MM) in south-eastern Malawi. It is the only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Malawi and has been highlighted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as of key importance to bat conservation in Africa (Hutson, Mickleburgh & Racey 2001), having high endemism and species diversity.  CRA has been working in Malawi to conserve bats through research, outreach and education activities. 

Project objectives of this expedition were: 

  • To determine and compare diversity and assemblage composition of bat communities between habitat types in protected and unprotected (disturbed) areas.

  • To determine and compare bat species abundance and distribution between habitats in protected and unprotected (disturbed) areas.


Twelve different species were captured using mist nets and harp traps and the samples collected will be received at BBF for sequencing in the coming weeks.

Genome sequencing update

BBF has completed sequencing and assembly for Molossus nigricans (black myotis) and annotation is underway. The samples for this effort were collected in Belize by Nancy Simmons from the American Museum of Natural History. Initial results were presented at the NASBR/IBRC 2022 meeting in Austin and will be published in a data note. Several other species are following closely in the pipeline including - Molossus alvarezi, Myotis pilosatibialis,  Sturnira parvidens, Platyrrhinus helleri, Pteronotus psilotis, Lasurus ega.


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