Xenabeth – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, MSc

Hi, I am Xenabeth Lazaro and an MSc student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Helsinki. My interests lie in bat ecology, behavior, and conservation. I am passionate about bats because they are unique creatures that are often misunderstood. One of my career goals is to help people appreciate them.🦇

This summer (2024) I will work on a project with BatLab Finland for my HiLIFE traineeship. The aim of the research is to look at bat activity across Finland; from southern Finland to the Arctic Circle⬇⬆, and from eastern Finland to the Turku archipelago⬅➡.

*Why?* Bats breed and hibernate mainly in southern Finland, but recent research has found an increase in bat activity further west and at latitudes higher than normal near the end of the summer season. This is right before hibernation and migration when they should be shifting southwards. It is unclear what is causing this sudden change in activity. In my project I aim to investigate the extent of this vagrant behavior in Finland.

*Importance:* As wind power gains popularity in Finland, there is an urgency to identify bat activity, as the installation of wind farms poses serious threats to bats. Bat conservation in regard to wind power production needs a novel approach in order to account for this vagrant behavior.

*But how do I look at bat activity?* I will use a monitoring technique called “bioacoustics”.
1. I will use a recorder with a microphone that can record bat calls in ultrasonic frequencies, aka bat microphones🎙
2. I will place these recorders across latitudes and longitudes in Finland
3. I will then collect the recorders and look at the recordings to see where and when bats are active🎶🦇

This research will shine light on bat distribution patterns in Finland to help implement better conservation plans for them. It will also prepare me for my MSc research, as I plan to continue working with bat bioacoustics. I am very excited to take on this project! Stay tuned for more updates along the way.🔜

You can also view this introduction with additional pictures in Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/C4ulcZbiiY_/?img_index=1  (posted March 20, 2024).