Eastern Kentucky University professor Luke Dodd has shown a strong interest in the study of bats throughout his educational and professional career. Dodd has been a professor at EKU since the Fall 2014, mainly instructing Labs within EKU’s beautiful New Science Building. In his time at EKU he has made a point to mentor undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences while also educating students on unique creatures such as bats.
Dodd completed his undergraduate studies at Arkansas Tech University, majoring in Fish and Wildlife Biology. His interest in bats was born when he was assigned a literature review on the reproductive ecology of bats. He knew immediately that these animals were not to be overlooked.
“I was blown away by the sheer diversity of this group of mammals!” he said.
During his undergraduate studies, Dodd worked for the US Forest Service as a technician. Here he was able to explore and expand his knowledge of these strange creatures.
“I worked on a project where we radio-tracked bats to their roost trees. From there I knew I was interested in studying these animals in grad school. I did both my M.S. and Ph.D. on the foraging ecology of bats, and I’ve continued to work with bats throughout my career since then,” said Dodd.
Dodd has instructed many labs at EKU that explore ethological studies and research projects that revolve around bats and other mammals. Four of his students have even completed M.S. theses on Bat Ecology at EKU.
“EKU is a school with a long history of conducting ecological and conservation-minded research. Simply put, our school has always placed a premium on field research, and we give our students valuable opportunities to conduct projects important to conservation, not just across Appalachia but all across the continent,” said Dodd.
Currently, Dodd is conducting projects that revolve around Eastern Spotted Skunks and Indiana Bats with his students. The skunk project is funded and being conducted in collaboration with the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves. The Indiana bat project is funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under their White-nose Research Grants program.
“As Kentuckians, and as Colonels, we need to be effective stewards of natural areas and conservationists for all types of biodiversity. I see my lab’s activities as serving this need. We’re studying critters that need our attention, and we’re providing scientifically-grounded evidence that can guide conservation efforts… And we get to have fun working out in the woods while we do it!” he said.