Katya Egert Berg

PhD student at Dr. Yossi Yovel’s laboratory

Research title
Foraging flexibility in wild bats in response to environmental shifts, a GPS approach


Research project

Loyal country bats vs. adventurous city bats – a GPS study of rural and urban fruit bat foraging:
When animals colonize cities they often have to adapt their physiology and behaviour to the novel environment. The primary goal of this experiment is to examine the differences in foraging and navigation between bats from the same species living under different environments conditions: the city and the country. These sites represent extremely different habitats, offering an ideal opportunity to examine foraging adaptations related to environmental characteristics. We equipped Egyptian fruit-bats from both urban and rural colonies with on board miniature GPS units and recorded their 3D position over many nights. We analyze the great amount of collected data, using specialized automated tools that are being created using Matlab (MathWorks Inc.) program. We found that in contrast to rural bats that spend the entire night at one distant foraging site, urban bats visited many foraging sites along the same night. We also found that urban bats often switch their foraging sites, visiting different sites on consecutive nights while rural bats are extremely loyal to the same foraging site flying to it night after night for long periods. More work will be done in order to reveal the reasons for these differences which might be related to food availability or to difference in sociality (e.g., the density of Fruit bat colonies in the city vs. the country).


Meetings

  • 4th International Berlin Bat Meeting: Movement ecology of bats, March 2015

  • Israel society for neuroscience, Eilat, 2013


Publications

  • N. Cvikel, K. E. Berg, E. Levin, E. Hurme, I. Borissov, A. Boonman, E. Amichai, & Y. Yovel, (2014) Bats aggregate to improve prey search but might be impaired when their density becomes too high. Current Biology, 24: 2962-2967


Contact
katki86@gmail.com


Research Categories: Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive neuroscience, Computational neuroscience