Profile

Kristen Lear

PhD Candidate
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research Interests
Ecosystem services and conservation of bats in transboundary agricultural landscapes.

My general interest is in bat conservation and ecology. More specifically, I am interested in studying how bats provide vital ecosystem services (such as pest control and pollination) in agricultural landscapes and how farmers can incorporate bats into their management strategies. I am currently working with the conservation of threatened and endangered nectar-feeding bats that pollinate agaves in Mexico, which we use for products like tequila and mezcal. In my work, I am seeking to understand the social, political, and economic contexts of agave harvest, management, and use, both on a national scale (looking at tequila and mezcal production) and on a more local scale in northeast Mexico (where agaves are harvested for local consumption). I am also conducting foraging studies of the bats to determine their foraging requirements. The ultimate goal of my research is to understand what types of conservation strategies (e.g. bat-friendly agave management) might work best in different areas, and to understand how we can implement these strategies.

This research is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.