Communication and Cognition in Bats (Knörnschild Lab)
Institute of Biology
Freie Universität Berlin
Ph.D. Candidate (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Scholarship)
Social Learning and Cognition, Behavioral Ecology, Social Behavior, Flower-visiting Bats
Social learning and cultural diffusion of foraging behavior in the nectivorous bat Glossophaga soricina
Social learning describes the acquisition of knowledge from other animals. Horizontal social learning (from adult to adult) influences the foraging behavior of several animalivorous and frugivorous bat species, but there is little knowledge whether flower-visiting nectarivorous bats (Phyllostomidae: Glossophaginae) can acquire foraging related information from conspecifics as well. Moreover, for bats in general, there is almost nothing known about the presumably important processes of vertical social learning from parents to offspring.
Nectarivorous Pallas’ Long-tongued Bats (Glossophaga soricina) are well suited to study mechanisms of social learning. Adult individuals visit an enormous number of flowers each night and have to make just as many foraging decisions in which they might incorporate socially gained information (i.e. when, where, what and how to feed). In addition, juvenile bats should have ample opportunities to socially learn about food during ontogeny, e.g. via maternally provided nectar, or from following mothers on their first foraging flights.
In my dissertation project, I use an experimental approach to investigate the extent and mechanisms of social learning in bats of different age. Inter alia, my research comprises experiments on mouth-to-mouth feeding behavior in mother-pup pairs and its potential implications on vertical social learning of dietary preferences in non-volant pups. I further developed artificial flowers with RFID system to record the incipient foraging behavior of recently volant pups and their mothers in the wild and I also work on adult individuals (e.g. horizontal social learning of novel flower types; playback experiments on mediating cues). Experiments are performed with bats that are temporarily kept in captivity as well as with free living individuals. Fieldwork of the ongoing study is conducted in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica.
For more information (and pictures!) see https://www.acguanacaste.ac.cr/noticias/noticias-programa-de-investigacion/3986-murcielagos-nectarivoros-en-el-parque-nacional-santa-rosa
 Rose A, Brändel SD, Cvecko P, Engler S, Hiller H, Knörnschild M, Tschapka M (2017) New records of hypopigmentation in two neotropical phyllostomid bat species with different roosting habits (Uroderma bilobatum, Glossophaga soricina). Mammalia. Online first.
 Engler S, Rose A, Knörnschild M (2017) Isolation call ontogeny in bat pups (Glossophaga soricina). Behaviour 154: 267-286. Joint senior authors.
 Rose A, Kolar M, Tschapka M, Knörnschild M (2015) Learning where to feed: The use of social information in flower-visiting Pallas’ Long-tongued Bats (Glossophaga soricina). Animal Cognition 19: 252-261.
 Rose A, Knörnschild M (2016) Maternal nectar provisioning and its implications for vertical social learning of dietary preferences in a flower-visiting bat. European Conference on Behavioural Biology, 12 – 15 July 2016, Vienna, Austria
 Rose A, Knörnschild M (2015) Vertical learning of dietary preferences in flower-visiting Pallas’ Long-tongued Bats. Graduate Meeting: Studying Animal Behaviour in the Field. 17 – 19 September 2015, Grünau im Almtal, Austria
 Rose A, Knörnschild M (2014) Social learning facilitates foraging behavior in Pallas’ Long-tongued Bats. European Conference on Behavioural Biology, 17 – 20 July 2014, Praha, Czech Republic
 Cvecko P, Rose A, Brändel SD, Hiller T, Tschapka M (2014) Activity pattern and foraging behavior of the tent-making bat (Uroderma bilobatum) in Panama. Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology (GTÖ), 25 – 28 February 2014, Freising, Germany