Zoology graduate student wins 2012 award for bat research
Sara González-Pérez, an OU graduate student in the zoology department, received the 2012 Wilks Award for her presentation “Bats of Colima, Mexico: Characterizing Ecological Aspects of Distributions and Habitats,” according to a press release.
The Southwestern Association of Naturalists announced the award at its Annual Meeting of the Association, which was held in April in Valle Bravo, Mexico, according to the release.
González-Pérez’s presentation examined the relationship between the geography and ecology of several species of bats in Colima, Mexico. She said that it felt good to win the award for her presentation, but the chance to share her work with others was a thrill in itself.
“I was just happy to present my research,” González-Pérez said. “I’m really excited about the results and what I’m doing.”
The presentation meant a lot to her for personal reasons as well.
“It was a nice opportunity to do it in my country, because I’m from Mexico City,” she said. “And with my friends from here in the U.S. — it was just fantastic.”
The project was a team effort between herself, OU zoology professor Gary Schnell, María de Lourdes Romero-Almaraz and Cornelio Sánchez-Hernández of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Michael L. Kennedy of the University of Memphis and Troy L. Best of Auburn University, González-Pérez said.
She began field work with the team while she was still an undergraduate at OU, and has returned to Colima every January for seven years now to continue her research, she said.
The goal of the research was to discover the habitat needs of the different bat species, and then use that information to predict where the bats could be found, she said.
Students interested in viewing bats and other mammals from Colima can visit the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at 2401 Chautauqua Ave.