Surveying bats in Grenada

Grenada is a small island (344 Km2) located in the Southeastern Caribbean. Despite its small size, Grenada’s mountainous landscape boasts trees of commercially important fruits—in fact, it’s one of the leading producers of nutmeg and mace in the world. For fruit bats, this means one thing: lots and lots of food.

This past summer, University of Washington (UW) graduate student Leith Miller and I received an invitation to study Grenada’s fruit bats with Dr. Sonia Cheetam Brow and Dr. Diana Stone at Saint George’s University (SGU). Sonia and Diana are virologists at SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and wanted to research viruses that may be hosted by Grenadian bats.

This research is particularly important for Grenada because bats are abundant and they often use man-made structures for roosting—putting them in close proximity to humans. Additionally, we wanted to survey what bat species live there. Very few studies have characterized the island’s bat fauna and the last inventory precedes the damage caused by Hurricane Ivan to the region.

Article Source: Burke Museum