Pathways: Using Citizen Science to Study the Social Behaviors of a Charismatic Rare Bat Species at Mammoth Cave National Park

September 1st, 2012 - August 31st, 2014 | PROJECT

Experts in informal science education, citizen science, bats, and computer science are developing and evaluating, at Mammoth Cave National Park, a hybrid onsite/online proof-of-concept program for citizen scientists to observe and record (tag) roosting behaviors of Rafinesque's big-eared bats via streaming video. Participants are helping bat researchers document bat behaviors that provide insights into the benefits of communal roosting and interactions that serve to create or maintain social bonds and spread disease. The project is also developing a proof-of-concept mobile kiosk that links the citizen science bat study program to other exhibits at Mammoth Cave. Project personnel are conducting evaluation studies to identify best practices for engaging underserved populations and professional scientists in the study of bat behavior, and developing plans for scaling up the program to include video and educational resources from other bat sites around the country. Lessons learned from the project will inform development of a new, nationwide, online citizen science program focused on bat behavior.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Poster - Developing a New, Online, Citizen Science Project Studying Bat Behavior

Team Members

Shannon Trimboli, Principal Investigator, Western Kentucky University
Rickard Toomey, Co-Principal Investigator, Mammoth Cave National Park
Guangming Xing, Co-Principal Investigator, Western Kentucky University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1223908
Funding Amount: 244131


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Life science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Citizen Science Programs | Exhibitions | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits | Public Programs