Observation of the Week, 10/27/15

This colony of Straw-colored Fruit Bats observed by Martin Grimm in Tanzania is our Observation of the Week - which happens to be Bat Week!

A medical doctor from Leipzig, Germany, Martin Grimm volunteered at Tanzanian hospitals while on parental leave after his children were born. In Tanzania he would take the babies on nature walks and photograph wildlife as the babies slept, posting pictures to Flickr. That’s where Jakob Fahr, creator of the Afribats project on iNaturalist, found Martin’s photo and invited him to post it on iNat. Martin jokingly calls this first iNaturalist experience an “infection” and began to look for more bats “in villagers’ houses,...in hollow trees, in hotels. Bats can be found almost everywhere when looking close enough.” He now has 43 observations posted in the Afribats project! 

During Martin’s latest trip to Tanzania, Jakob asked that he look for some Straw-colored Fruit Bat (Eidolon helvum) colonies and estimate their numbers. After finding several outside of Dar es Salaam, Martin’s guide brought him to a colony he knew by the Goethe Institute, which is the colony pictured in this post. Jakob says they have “been studying the local movement ecology of straw-coloured fruit bats with miniaturized GPS-loggers, but their large-scale movements are still a bit of a mystery, thus documenting whether these bats are around at a given colony and time is highly valuable information that helps us disentangle their long-distance migrations.” This colony, numbering between 10,000 and 100,000 individuals, was previously unknown on Afribats and is important data for the project. 

For Jakob, the “AfriBats project strives to showcase the incredible diversity of African bats, and to put their manifold ecosystem services into the limelight rather than their role as carriers of diseases, which is largely based on speculation rather than hard facts. Martin's excellent pictures have certainly helped to illustrate both the beauty of African bats and their important ecological roles!” 

Martin continues to contribute observations of many taxa to iNaturalist, including 40 observations in the Primates of East Africa project, and has begun to document the forests surrounding Leipzig. “My goal is to get an overview of life there around the day and around the year. So I try to visit the forest often and during day and night. This changed my life as naturalist a lot - didn't do things like this before I knew iNat.”

Citizen Scientists: Keep exploring. Keep sharing.

Maybe your discovery will become an iNaturalist Observation of the Week!

- by Tony Iwane

Hey, iNaturalists! See something that blows your mind? Click ‘Add to favorites’ so it can be considered for the Observation of the Week!

Posted by loarie loarie, October 31, 2015 01:13

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