Bats play critical roles in many ecosystems, yet they are often not taken into consideration in the design and management of parks and reserves or in other conservation efforts. To bridge this gap, a current BCI science priority is to identify and prioritize the most critically important bat roosts and habitats around the world. The first stage will be to solicit information from international conservationists, biologists, governmental agencies and other organizations through a massive correspondence campaign and presentations at selected conferences. After determining which sites are the most critical, the next phase will entail meeting with appropriate government officials and enlisting assistance from other conservation organizations and individuals in order to implement protective measures.
To begin this major project, BCI is pleased to welcome Gary L. Graham as Associate Science Director. Gary received his Ph.D. in biology from the University of New Mexico in 1986 and has studied bats and birds in the U.S., Mexico and South America. Gary conducted his dissertation research on the roosting biology of bats in Peru. During 18 months of fieldwork he explored many caves and other seldom visited places to document the importance of different types of bat roosts. Prior to joining the BCI staff, he was the coordinator of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish tax check-off for wildlife program.
After a year's sabbatical at BCI, Dr. Paul Robertson has returned to his post at Trinity University in San Antonio where he is an Associate Professor of Biology and Program Director for Environmental Studies. As BCI's first Associate Science Director, Paul laid much groundwork for future bat conservation projects and initiated BCI's Chiropteran Bibliographic Data Base on worldwide bat research, a project he continues to supervise. His association with BCI also continues as Special Projects Coordinator. Both Gary and Paul will represent BCI at the Eighth International Bat Research Conference this summer in Sydney, Australia where they will be co-chairing the Conservation Section.