Field work of our group in various parts of the world

Please note that we follow carefully all legal regulations when conducting research with wildlife animals

Field work in Latvia, studying summer migration of bats

Bat mistnetting with the "Landesfachausschuss Säugetiere" in Brandenburg, Germany: In search of Plecotus austriacus

Bats from top left to low right: Greater mouse-eared bat, brown long-eared bat, grey long-eared bat, Leisler's bat, roost of long-eared bat, Bechstein's bat.

BBQ and emergence count at bat museum Julianenhof: We counted a total of almost 1300 bats, including Myotis brandti, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, P. pygmaeus and P. nathusii, the highest count of bats in that roost since its protection.

Study of spring migration of bats on the island Greifswalder Oie

Field work in Latvia in summer 2016: Setting up the funnel trap

Nightly capture in the funnel trap at full moon

Nilsoni's bat (Eptesicus nilsonii)

Parti-coloured bat (Vespertilio murinus)

Bat carcasses below wind turbines

The 2016 team

Field work in Germany

Winter 2016: Noctule bats hibernating motionless and isolated from each other on insulation material in the attic of a pre-fab building in Berlin

Winter 2015: Field work in Thailand with our Thai colleagues Sara Bumrungsri and Nittaya Ruadreo to study the causes for population decline in Chaerophon plicata

Guano harvester working in a cave of Chaerophon plicata

Wing of C. plicata found below a wind turbine in one of the first wind parks of Thailand

Field work in Latvia: Pipistrellus nathusii (top left), albinotic P. pygmaeus (top right), Pipistrellus pygmaeus (bottom left), Myotis dasycneme (bottom right).

Team of Latvia field work 2015: 

Conference trip and field work in Japan

Wind turbines on Honshu island with recorded bat and bird fatalities. A barn swallow killed by one of the wind turbines.(right picture)

One day conference in Tokyo about wind energy development and bat fatalities in Japan with members of the ministry of environment, wildlife societies and consultants participating.

January 2015: Field work in Thailand

Mass emergence of 1 million Tadarida plicata at a cave in Thailand 

Conservation issues related to bats in Thailand

Colonies of T. plicata are threatened by mining in Karst areas, even though this species is known to be of large economic values for rice producing countries such as Thailand

Flying foxes, such as Rousettus leschenaultii, are threatened by direct persection. Often, farmers try to protect their orchards by putting up mistnets. Yet, bats only consume ripe or overripe fruits that are not suitable for the market and bats are awfully killed by letting them starve and overheat until death. We hope that this practice will soon stop in Southeast Asia.

August 2014, Pape, Latvia: The inauguration of the newly constructed funnel trap: The director of the Berlin-based Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Prof. Heribert Hofer, and the two leading principal investigators, Prof. Gunars Petersons from the Agricultural University of Latvia, and PD Dr. Christian Voigt from the IZW, opening the funnel trap on 19th of August 2014.

The new funnel trap of Pape Bat Ringing Station in action:  The new funnel trap is designed to capture large numbers of migratory bats when they fly along the shores of the Baltic Sea southwards. By banding migratory bats, we would like to learn more about the used migratory corridors and the connectivity between breeding and wintering habitats. Further, we study various aspects of their biology to better understand the specific adaptations which enable them to travel seasonally over distances of about 4,000 km.

July 2014, Tabachka, Bulgaria: Group members studied the interplay between immunology, oxidative stress and longevity in European bat species.

November 2013, Namibia: We reported to the authorities and local communities the results of the oryx project ( and checked opportunistically for bats in local caves.

Autumn 2013: Study of bat migration in Latvia

First row: Pipistrellus nathusii (left), P. nathusii (right)

Second row: P. pygmaeus (left)

Bats and birds killed by wind turbines in Latvia: 

Nathusius bat (Pipistrellus nathusii), Parti-coloured bats (Vespertilio murinus), Swift (Apus apus)

Summer 2013: Field work at Tabachka Bat Research Station in Bulgaria

Winter 2012/2013: Hibernacula count in former bunkers of the USSR army in Germany.

We recorded several hundred Barbastella barbastellus and some additional individuals of Plecotus austriacus and auritus and Myotis daubentoni and M. myotis. 

left: Plecotus austriacus, middle: russian instructions, right: Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentoni)

left: Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis), middle and right : Barbastella barbastellus.

Field Work in Costa Rica

In November 2012, we spent a productive time at La Selva Biological Station (Costa RIca) working on eco-immunological and sociobiologial questions. Despite the intense rainfall, we were able to capture more than 30 species within a short period of time. Pictures show (from top left to bottom right): the team (Karin Schneeberger, Silke Voigt-Heucke, Philippa Voigt, Christian Voigt, Gabor Czirjak, Daniel Lewanzik, Tobias Teige, Oliver Lindecke), Oliver L. at work, Desmodus rotundus, Ectophylla alba, Lonchophylla robusta, Phyllostomus hastatus.  

Molossus sinaloae (smiling), Tobias and Gabor enjoying an Ectophylla tent, the smallest (4 g Ectophylla alba) and the largest fruit-eating bat (120 g P. hastatus) of La Selva Biological Station ((C)  O. Lindecke).

Field work in Latvia

In August 2011, we spent a very productive time at Pape Bird Ringing Station in Latvia to work on the migratory ecology of Pipistrellus nathusii. We enjoyed a series of seminary talks about bat migration research conducted at Pape Bird Ringing Station,and contributed with our own presentation to this productive scientific meeting. The students from Latvia greatly helped in some field experiments with Pipistrellus nathusii (results are now published in Voigt et al. 2012 Proc Roy Soc Lond B). We are most grateful to our local hosts Prof. Dr. Gunars Peterson and Dr. Oskars Keiss for their hospitality.

(funded by the German-Baltic Hochschulkontor)

Laboratory work at Brown University

We measured flight performance and metabolic rates of short-tailed fruit bats while flying in a wind tunnel. Our overall goal was to test whether metabolic rate varies with flight speed as predicted by theory, i.e. in a U-shaped manner with intermediate speeds coming at lowest metabolic costs for flying bats and slow and fast flight coming at higher metabolic costs.  

(Collaborative work with Prof. Sharon Swartz and Dr. Rhea von Busse)

Field work in the Berlin area

Counting bats emerging from a maternity roost of Vespertilio murinus.

Field work in Southern Germany

During winter, all bats of the temperate zone aggregate in hibernacula where they spend several months with a reduced metabolic rate and body temperature. Once in a while, bats arouse from hibernation for a few hours; yet the underlying reason for this behaviour is unknown. The thermal imaging picture (right) shows an aroused mouse-eared bat (yellow-red body) sitting on top of 5 hibernating conspecifics that have body temperature quite similar to the enviornment (blue colour). The middle picture shows a normal picture of such a cluster of mouse-eared bats. We have been working on the physiology of hibernating bats over the past few years. For this purpose, we are using our lab van (left picture) so that we can study, for example, immunological parameters of bats in-situ. This work is part of a collaboration with Dr. Gabor Czirjak (IZW).

Field work in Bulgaria

We have been contributing to field work of the Siemers group (PD Dr. Björn Siemers, MPI Ornithology in Seewiesen) in Bulgaria over the past few years. The focus of these field trips was on flight energetics and general physiology and ecology of temperate zone bats.

See: Voigt et al. (2010) J comp Physiol B, Siemers et al. (2011) Oecologia

Field work in Costa Rica

In the field, we quite often capture bats in mistnets. These are very fine nets that bats sometimes miss with their echolocation. Usually, we identify the species and take body measurements before releasing bats where they have been captured.