My African biodiversity work includes taxonomy, ecology and conservation of bats. From local field surveys to continent-wide monitoring, I want to understand the distribution patterns of bats in relation to habitat characteristics on different scales – and fill important knowledge gaps for identifying and managing conservation priorities.
For almost the last decade, I observed an increased hostility of humans towards straw-colored fruit bats across Africa, resulting in the felling of an uncountable number of roost trees. This is a double disadvantage – it not only forces the bats to abandon their partly highly traditional roosts and find a new place, but also causes the loss of tree populations (and their shade and water services). In Guinea and Sierra Leone, large development projects (dams and mines) affect the few remaining intact forest and mountain habitats.