Global Union of Bat Diversity Networks (GBatNet)

Data and internship opportunities available to new students. Bats play critical roles in ecosystems globally. However, key aspects of bat biology, from the causes and consequences of population declines to their ability to transmit viruses to people, remain poorly understood. This AccelNet project establishes the Global Union of Bat Diversity Networks (GBatNet) to fill key knowledge gaps and create an international structure to accelerate discoveries across disciplines and borders. The network of networks fosters new avenues for global research exchange through coordination of joint research, education, and outreach. GBatNet links 14 regional and global networks with a shared vision to address pressing questions in bat biology of direct relevance to ecosystem and human health.

Bat goblet cells as immuno-hotspots for infection of coronavirus

Data available to new students. Why are bats so likely to carry coronaviruses, yet seem little affected by them? Many studies have focused on their immune system, but there is much to learn about the cells viruses attack upon entry.

Immunological adaptations in bats to moderate the effect of coronavirus infection

Data available to new students. All aspects of society have been upended by COVID-19. While most research has understandably focused on clinical applications, how the ancestors of SARS-CoV2 survive and circulate in nature is vital to both prevent future epidemics and help health professionals develop therapeutic treatments.

Inter-Species Modeling for Spillback/Spillover Avoidance

In support of RA Kristjan Mets. While scientific reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has been swift, the risk of SARS-CoV-2 spilling back into native North American wildlife and feral domestic animals remains underexplored. Experimental infections of a variety of hosts, serological analyses of the cats in Wuhan, and cases of COVID-19 among tigers and lions in the Bronx Zoo, all have shown transmission back to wildlife and feral cats is highly probable. Tools are urgently needed to determine which of these animal populations are at greatest risk of establishing a native reservoir, and where the overlap with human populations is greatest. We propose to model the risk of spillover to animal populations and conversely the risk of future secondary spillover by combining models of molecular interaction between the virus and potential hosts, with multi- species Susceptible-Infectious-Recovered (SIR) models. Complementing decades of experience in vertebrate genomics (Dávalos) with expertise in epidemiology (Meliker), and spatial dynamics of wildlife disease (Mets), ours is the ideal team to quickly generate and test the necessary models to avert this risk.

Regrowing the brain; evolution and mechanisms of seasonal reversible size changes in a mammal

To answer the question of how the shrew shrinks and then regrows its brain, we will establish this unusual species as a new model, by studying the biological, molecular, biochemical and genetic processes behind this reversible size change.

The death and life of biodiversity; modeling extinction and resilience on islands

Data available for new students. We assembled a group of socio-environmental scientists to analyze and model the natural and human factors that determine the extinction and resilience of insular vertebrate fauna and leverage this understanding into metrics for use in conservation assessments.

The Very Extended Phenotype: connecting genetics and evolution to ecological function

We propose to develop a cross-scale research program that focuses on the relationships between phylogenetic diversity, genetic diversity and functional diversity of a biologically and economically important taxonomic group; bats.

Genomics of exceptions to scaling of longevity to body size

Data available to new students. This project focuses on pairs of closely related bat species that sharply differ in their longevity. Detailed genome comparisons between closely related species with different life spans will test different theories of aging.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Training to Understand and Inform Decision Processes Using Advanced Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization

This training program responds to the challenges of new careers at the interface between science and decision making with an interdisciplinary set of new courses and a suite of activities united by the theme of "Scientific Training and Research to Inform DEcisions" (STRIDE).

Chance or necessity? Adaptive vs. non adaptive evolution in plant-frugivore interactions

Data available to new students. The project focuses on a relatively unexplored yet crucial aspect of plant-animal mutualisms; volatile chemical communication between plants and vertebrate frugivores.