Lincoln Memorial University

LMU Students and Faculty Study Bats in Costa Rica



HARROGATE, Tennessee, September 3, 2019— Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) conservation biology and media communications students and faculty researched a variety of bats in Costa Rica earlier this summer.


Hunter Wyatt, a senior conservation biology major from Rogersville, Tennessee, and Dr. LaRoy Brandt, an associate professor of biology at LMU, investigated the validity of electronic bat detection software to accurately predict what is caught in bat nets. During the summer of 2019, they conducted field research at the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy in La Suerte, Costa Rica.


“Understanding the bat communities in Costa Rica are applicable to variety of ecosystems, including East Tennessee,” said Brandt. “Both share common ecological principles and practices. Mosquitoes are carriers of many diseases. We could be looking at outbreaks of potential malaria, dengue fever, or other insect-borne diseases that the bats help keep in check.”


Brandt is also deploying trail cameras to identify different species of animals inhabiting the rainforest and their potential contributions to the rainforest and local farming. 


Dr. Charlie Gee, assistant professor of media communications, and media communications seniors, Elizabeth Manning from Tazewell, Tennessee, and Allison Barnett of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, joined the conservation research team in June to produce a promotional video about the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy’s contribution to the region.


“This is a great opportunity for our media communications students to get hands-on experience with producing videos in the field and interviewing people from different cultural backgrounds,” Gee said.


“I learned when giving interviews, the interviewee is more nervous than you are,” Manning added. 


Brandt and Gee will be assisted by grant coauthor, Dr. Rick Vogel, assistant professor of media communication. They are also using the experience to launch a pilot study on the pedagogical impact of student perceptions in a conservancy research setting. 

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at [email protected].


423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752