Clark School Home UMD

ISR News Story

Alumna Kirsten Bohn's bat song research is Science cover story

Research by University of Maryland alumna Kirsten "Kisi" Bohn (Biology Ph.D. 2005) is the subject of “When the bat sings,” the cover story of the June 20, 2014 issue of Science.

The story follows Bohn as she studies the songs of bats roosting in ruins in Uxmal, Mexico. The songs are more complex than bats’ more simple high-frequency chirps that are used in echolocation or social calls. These sounds are more complex and rhythmic, like those sung by birds, whales… and humans. Bohn seeks to understand the social and environmental conditions that explain why bats sing—a mentally demanding behavior that few mammals attempt.

Studies by Bohn and others have found that like birds, bats that sing tend to be male, live in societies where males mate with more than one female and sing during mating season to court females and defend territories. The hope is that the bat studies can help explain the evolution of complex vocal abilities overall, including eventually human speech.

At Maryland, Bohn was co-advised by Professor Cynthia Moss (Psychology/ISR) and Professor Gerald Wilkinson (Biology). Currently she is a research assistant professor at Florida International University in Miami, where her Bat Communication Lab focuses on the evolution of vocal complexity by studying the vocalizations of several different species of molossidae free-tailed bats.

| Read the Science article | Read the FIU press release | Read a 2013 Wired magazine story about Bohn's research |

Related Articles:
Sterbing-D'Angelo interviewed by Forbes magazine
Bats' touch sensor cells enable precision flight
Foraging bats can warn each other to stay away from their dinners
Study on Bats, Rats Finds that Analysis of Many Species Is Required to Better Understand the Brain
Cynthia Moss leads international team studying multimodal sensing
Oct. 9, 9 pm: Moss lab featured in National Geographic's "Brain Games"
Moss research uncovers bats' systematic 'active sensing' strategies
Heavy media coverage for bat wing hair research findings
Tiny hairs on bats’ wings act as speedometers
ISR postdoc Chen Chiu wins outstanding paper prize

June 25, 2014


Prev   Next

 

 

Current Headlines

Banis wins poster design award at Global Grand Challenges Summit

ISR faculty leading bio-inspired robotics and transportation electrification REUs

Alum Leonard Petnga to join University of Alabama Huntsville faculty

William Regli named sixth director of ISR

Smela named Clark School Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Graduate Programs

Ulukus is PI for new NSF information-theoretic physical layer security grant

ECE Ph.D. Student Mallik Wins Kulkarni Fellowship

John Baras receives AACC Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award

Nima Ghalichechian begins Ohio State tenure-track position 

UMD Takes Second Place in NASA RASC-AL Competition

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar