Bats are the only mammals capable of powered flight. Wing morphology, aerodynamics and flight performance seem to contrast with that of birds, yet flight metabolic rates are similar. In this session, we will review our current understanding of bat flight, and wether the ability for flapping flight presented a preadaptation for other seemingly unique traits of bats.
Chairpersons: Christian Voigt, Germany, Anders Hedenström, Sweden
Bats provide textbook examples for echolocation. The sophisticated sonar enables bats to hear their environment in complete darkness and to explore a multitude of ecological niches. What is unique about bat echolocation? And how does it differ from that of other sonar-using animals? Social calls are diverse in mammals and vocal-learning has been attributed to a few species only, yet Chiroptera are outstanding for boht social vocalizations and singing. Why do bats have such an extra-ordinatory vocal repertoire?
Chairpersons: Mirjam Knörnschild, Germany, Lutz Wiegrebe, Germany
Bats are outstanding with respect to their longevity, yet our understanding about why bats are more long-lived than other taxa is poor. Is it related to some unique repair mechanism for damaged DNA, low levels of oxidative stress, high immune competence or heterothermy? During this session, we will discuss factors that may be responsible for the longevity of Chiroptera.
Chairpersons: David Costantini, Belgium
Bats seem to be particularly tolerant towards low and high body temperature. Almost all bats are capable of torpor, i.e. they reduce their body temperatures during advert conditions. However, bats also seem to reach high core body temperatures when flying. Is heterothermy one of the key factors causing the evolutionary success of bats? Is heterothermy related to longevity and how does the immune system change at high and low body temperatures?
Chairpersons: Melanie Dammhahn, Germany
Recent studies have revealed that bats host a large diversity of viruses, yet there are only few documented cases of dies offs in bat colonies caused by pathogens . White-nose syndrome is the tragic exception to this rule. Why do we observe this pattern? Why are bats less susceptible towards viral antigens, yet seemingly highly susceptible towards fungal infections?
Chairpersons: Gábor Czirják (Germany), Marcel Müller (Germany)
The bat genome seems to be typical for a mammal, yet recent advances in the field of next-generation sequencing may teach us more about what extraordinary traits of bats are correlated. Also, genomic approaches may teach us about the evolutionary scenario under which Chiroptera radiated, making it the second largest order within the Mammalia.
Chairpersons: Emma Teeling, Ireland, Stephen Rossiter, United Kingdom
Can a thorough understanding of the exceptional biology of bats help us in refining our conservation efforts for this taxon? Do bats require other conservation measures as most other mammals in particular or vertebrates in general? Are bats particularly susceptible or resilient towards anthropogenic changes?
Chairpersons: Tigga Kingston, U.S.A., Dina Dechmann, Germany