Flight and Wing Comparison of Bats in a Cloud and a Dry Forest in Costa Rica

Student: Makali Haines
Mentor: David Johnson (OWU Department of Botany-Microbiology)

The shape, and size of an object’s wings and body can tell you a lot about their aerodynamics and strategies for flight. Some wings are built to be fast and agile while others are slower but more powerful, and there are a lot of factors that go into deciding the best strategy for each situation or location. When you think of this in terms of animals’ wings and different habitats one might predict that different habitats contain animals that have different flying strategies. I measured many aspects of Costa Rican bats caught in both the wet and dry forest, then I used this data with the help of aerodynamic formulas to understand the morphology of the bats’ wings in the two different locations. I hypothesize that the cloud forest bats will have wings that allow them to be more agile but they will have more damage on their wings. I also hypothesize that the bats in the could forest will be slightly smaller compared to the bats in the dry forest. The data showed no significant differences in any of the tests. Not only were they not different the bats as a group in each location surprisingly had almost identical numbers. This could suggest that the habitats aren’t different enough, or that the bats haven’t have enough time to evolved and adapt to the environment.

More information about this project in Digital Commons @ OWU

Contact Info


Merrick Hall
65 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3880
E ddmarkwa@owu.edu

David Markwardt, Associate Dean of the OWU Connection