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Winner of the Kate Barlow Award 2018

13 April 2018

The Kate Barlow Award was established in memory of the late Dr Kate Barlow, former Head of Monitoring with the Bat Conservation Trust, and in honour of her contribution to bat conservation. The Kate Barlow Award is open to PhD or MSc students anywhere in the world conducting research which has direct relevance for bat conservation.

We are very pleased to announce that Laura Pulscher is the winner or the Kate Barlow Award 2018. Laura will be conducting research as part of her PhD at the University of Sydney on the Christmas Island Flying-Fox (Pteropus melanotus natalis) (CIFF) which is now considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is still declining.

Laura will be investigating which food sources this rare bat relies on as it is thought that nutritional imbalances, potentially caused by the introduction of non-native plants could be a significant factor in the decline of the Christmas Island Flying-Fox. The species is known to feed on the fruits of both native and non-native plants, however the impact of introduced vegetation on nutrient availability in the CIFF is unknown. Funds from the Kate Barlow Award will not only be used to further investigate this issue; Laura emphasizes that “The outcomes of this study will be instrumental in identifying and protecting key resources to the population, and will provide valuable information for the conservation management of other insular flying-foxes.”

The BCT would like to wish Laura the best of luck and to thank her for her incredible efforts in aiding in the conservation of this endangered bat species. Her project will lead to an immediate and significant benefit not just for this species but for other insular flying foxes and will also guide management decisions by Christmas Island National Park. We are looking forward to hearing how her project develops.

A picture of a male Christmas Island flying-fox (Pteropus melanotus natalis), taken on Christmas Island (c) Welbergen

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that applied for the award; there were some amazing projects aiding bat conservation and we wish we could have supported more of your work. We are continuously fundraising for the Kate Barlow Award to ensure that Kate’s legacy of supporting bat conservationists lives on. We would like to thank everyone who has donated and raised funds towards this cause. If you would like to donate you can do so on this page: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/bats/katebarlowaward or by contacting us directly on fundraising@bats.org.uk.

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