Sublethal effects of neurotoxic pesticides on bats: from cells to behavior

Pesticide application in crops has been considered a potential cause of bat population declines in Europe. However, no research on this topic has been conducted in tropical agrosystems, where the use of pesticides is extensive and bat diversity is higher. Considering that insectivorous bats can eat more than 90% of their body mass every night, species that hunt preferentially in crops could be highly exposed to pesticides through their prey. This study seeks to determine the sublethal effects of pesticides on bat species foraging in or near crops. I will use an integrative approach to evaluate how these substances affect the ability of bats to hunt, fly and combat illness. Understanding the mechanisms and effects at different scales will enable to better predict the implications on populations and communities and help to face this environmental issue.

Natalia Sandoval Herrera
Faculty Supervisor: 
Kenneth Welch
Partner University: