Daniel Lewanzik

Daniel Lewanzik

Postdoctoral Researcher
MPI for Ornithology Seewiesen
Research Group Goerlitz

Main Focus

Finding sufficient food is a matter of life and death faced daily by any animal. Thus, foraging dictates the daily routine particularly in those species, which have high energy turnover rates and need to spend much time actively foraging, such as bats. I am interested in how echolocating bats manage to find their prey and how anthropogenic developments and human lifestyle interfere with bat foraging.

During my doctorate I have investigated the influence of ubiquitous street lights on bat foraging behaviour. I found that Neotropical fruit-eating bats refrain from harvesting fruits if they grow in the sphere of artificial light. Thus, street lighting might impact important ecosystem services such as seed dispersal. Also in Germany, I conducted experiments to find out if temperate zone insectivorous bats are similarly aversive to street light and if there are differences between traditional mercury vapour and emerging LED lights.

I now focus more on the sensorial aspect of bat foraging. Eared moths usually perform an evasive manoeuvre when they hear bat echolocation calls, thereby significantly decreasing their risk of predation. Bats whose echolocation calls are within the range of the moths’ best hearing frequencies (‘syntonic’ bats) rarely catch eared-moths. Close to street lights, however, the moths’ defensive behaviour is diminished, such that even syntonic bats are successful in catching eared-moths. Yet, there is one bat species, the barbastelle bat Barbastellus barbastellus, which mainly feed on eared-moths also in naturally dark habitats without artificial light. How do barbastelles circumvent being heard by the moths? Or are they still heard but employ a special foraging tactic that enables them to catch eared-moths despite their escape manoeuvre? These are the kind of questions I am excited to work on.

Curriculum Vitae

Education & Professional Experience

Since May 2014: Postdoc: “Auditory-guided behaviour in echolocating bats”. Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany.
2010 – 2014 Doctorate: “Effects of artificial light at night on obligatorily nocturnal mammals (bats)”. Supervisor: PD Dr. Christian C. Voigt (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany & Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany).

2009 – 2010 Assistant head conference organiser „2nd Berlin Bat Meeting: Bat Biology and Infectious Diseases“. Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany.
2009 Diploma thesis: “Ecological factors influencing the hormonal stress response of Neotropical bats”. Supervisors: PD Dr. Christian C. Voigt (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany & Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany) & PD Dr. Rolf Schneider (Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany).


2013 Award for the 3rd best poster at the 9th International Conference on Behaviour, Physiology and Genetics of Wildlife
2012 Maria Sibylla Merian Award for the 2nd best poster at the Annual Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology (GTÖ)
2015 Award for the 2nd best student oral presentation at the 4th International Berlin Bat Meeting, Berlin, Germany.

Talks, poster & public outreach

2009 – 2013 2 invited talks, 12 conference talks, 5 conference poster, numerous newspaper and radio interviews and other public project presentations  

Memberships / Affiliations

Bat Conservation International, International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), International Society for Behavioral Ecology (ISBE)
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