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Close up of a Brazilian free-tailed bat. (Photo source/credit: Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation)

Bat experts from around the country and the world are in Knoxville this week as part of the annual symposium of the North American Society for Bat Research.

The four-day international conference, which begins today, will provide more than 350 participants an opportunity to exchange ideas relating to bat research, conservation, and education.

All sessions will be held at the Holiday Inn Downtown.

Participants will take field trips, including one that involves searching for small-footed bats in rock slopes. The conference also will feature a teachers’ workshop Saturday where local educators will take part in hands-on activities they can do with their students, such as dissecting guano pellets under a microscope. A representative from the Organization for Bat Conservation will bring “flying foxes”—bats the size of Chihuahuas—for the teachers’ workshop.

The conference also will have numerous exhibits and poster sessions.

Gary McCracken, UT professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Emma Willcox, assistant professor in the UT Institute of Agriculture’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, are hosting the event.

The North American Society for Bat Research promotes the study and conservation of bats by facilitating communication and collaboration among scientists, educators, and the general public. For more information about the conference or the society, visit the website.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,