PEARL  Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory

Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston ON, Canada, K7L 3N6
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Bat Caves Study

Bats, like any roosting animal, can act as biovectors and leave important paleoecological records in deposits at roost sites. In some rare, undisturbed deposits from tropical caves, the record can go back thousands of years. Information on past environments can be reconstructed from these stratigraphic deposits by using pollen grains, isotopes, DNA, metals like mercury and lead, and other proxy indicators. Our study focuses on deposits from two caves in Jamaica that were spared human exploitation for fertilizer due to their extremely difficult access. The discovery of the cave deposits and the original inspiration for this project came from R. Stefan Stewart of the Jamaican Caves Organization, who also greatly facilitated the fieldwork and data interpretation. This project is one of many in collaboration with Jules Blais, Lauren Gallant and other colleagues at the University of Ottawa. Additional collaborators include Brock Fenton (Western University), Elizabeth Clare (Queen Mary University of London), and Wieslaw Bogdanowicz (Museum & Institute of Zoology PAS Wilcza, Warszawa, Poland). 

Macrotus bat. Field Crew 2014 Trench cut into guano deposit of approximately 4200 years old. Column and sampling tray.
       
       

Publications from this project:

 

Link to related studies done at PEARL

 


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