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Airdate: May 14, 2012
Scientist: Tigga Kingston

Science Diary: Bat Diversity - Decline

Science Diary: Bat Diversity - Decline
Science Diarist Tigga Kingston heads to the rainforests of Malaysia to learn more about bats threatened by forest loss.

Science Diary: Bat Diversity - Decline

Ambiance: Malaysian rain forest

TK: "By the end of this century it's estimated that as many as twenty percent of the bat species restricted to Southeast Asia will be globally extinct."

JM: Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. We're with Tigga Kingston, a Bat Researcher and Assistant Professor of Biology at Texas Tech University. Tigga conducts her research in Malaysia.

TK: "For me personally, this is a huge tragedy. And this is why much of my research and much of my life revolves around understanding bat diversity, how it originated, how it's maintained in intact systems, and what we are going to do to conserve it. So, here I am, sitting on a log in the middle of an ancient rainforest in peninsular Malaysia. Now, although this forest is protected, many of the forests in Southeast Asia aren't. And they're experiencing extremely rapid loss. And it's this loss that is causing a catastrophic decline in insectivorous and frugivirous bat species diversity. And what we're looking at here, in particular in this reserve, is trying to understand the distribution of diversity, the patterns of bat species richness in forest that hasn't been disturbed by people - so how does the community function in good forest, so that when we look into forest that has been disturbed or fragmented, we can try and understand what's happening, and in particular try to predict what's happening, so that we may be in some way able to ameliorate these habitat-disturbance and these species-loss events."

JM: We'll be joining Tigga Kingston in future programs as she heads out into the rainforests of Malaysia to catch and keep records of the bats she finds there. To hear more, check out our website, Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.