Imagine flying in complete darkness. You are guided by sound. A ping returns and in an eye blink, you swoop a juicy moth into your hand-wing, then tail, then mouth. The next one isn’t so easy. A barrage of clicks and your sonar is momentarily disabled. You’ve been jammed by a tiger moth.
Bats are military experts. They invented jamming, stealth and dogfights millions of years before us. They are also incredibly important to our ecosystems. They consume pest insects by the ton, pollinate flowers that give us tequila, and disperse seeds that help regenerate tropical rainforests.
Welcome to the Sensory and Movement Ecology Lab at UC Colorado Springs, headed by Dr. Aaron Corcoran (About Me). We study how animals sense and move through the environment, and how these abilities influence ecological interactions between predator and prey, social interactions, and mortaliteis at wind turbines. We are actively recruiting students and a post-doc to join the lab and are always interested in new collaborations and outreach efforts, so get in touch!
Insects have specialized ears that make sonar calls a dead give-away. That's why some bats go quiet.
Video from KQED featuring my and others' research on bats: