We are in San Juan, Puerto Rico enjoying the 42nd North American Symposium on Bat Research, an annual bat research meeting which Merlin has attended every year for the past 42 years!
Last night we attended the banquet and a subsequent auction which supports especially worthy students and colleagues in bat research and conservation.
The final auction item was a signed photograph by Merlin of the Painted Bat (Kerivoula picta), taken on our recent trip to Thailand. The bidding was exciting, reaching a record high of $1,000 to Marina Fisher-Phelps, a Ph.D. student at Texas Tech University. Marina told us she has been a huge fan of Merlin’s work and has a special interest in photography.
A substantial portion of proceeds from the auction go to support NASBR’s Spallanzani Awards. These special awards sponsor colleagues from outside North America to attend NASBR meetings. One of Merlin’s favorite colleagues, Dr. Luis Aguirre from Bolivia, was a Spallanzani recipient this year. Luis is one of Latin America’s leading bat researchers with a special interest in conservation. Congratulations, Luis!