Student Research

Lisa Powers

Powers1 f13a9965342ab99c805504e1f90e79685a3f337d5a6a502fe9f216b50e68c155
Image caption: The northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) is a species facing catastrophic declines due to white-nose syndrome.

PhD Candidate

Research focus:

Reproductive ecology of bats


Dr. Bettina Francis, Animal Biology

I study the reproductive ecology of bats. There are over 1200 species of bats worldwide. Many of these species are at risk of extinction due to changes in their environments.

Bats may be especially sensitive to environmental change because they are long-lived animals with slow reproductive rates. Unlike other types of small mammals, females of most bat species give birth once a year to a single pup. Ecological factors that disrupt reproduction have the potential to heavily impact the viability of bat populations. I am interested in finding the factors that make a large impact on bat reproduction, which will provide clues on how to best manage bat habitats to support at-risk populations.

I am currently a PhD candidate in the lab of Bettina Francis in the Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology at the University of Illinois. For my PhD thesis, I am particularly interested in the impact of white-nose syndrome on reproduction in North American cave-hibernating bat species.

Powers2 510f5c389b8b34e1f9c8cddb1aad8f1028ffd8765437fd9ab218daf73572ca9e

Fluctuations in temperature and precipitation affect the growth of bat pups (like this juvenile big brown bat – Eptesicus fuscus).

Powers3 1431c9c265a3f55b89ee0e3acd29d4e416cf1dedb34f67933fbfa7d3aa4b5085

Graafian follicle in the ovary of a little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus). Little brown bat females ovulate only once a year. The Graafian follicle develops when the female mates in autumn, is stored all winter, and is ovulated in spring when the bat emerges from hibernation. I study the effects of white-nose syndrome on bats’ ability to store the follicle throughout winter.


See Other Students