Bats Equal BIG DATA Challenges


Working with acoustic data is a challenge that can be paralyzing due to the volumes of data generated that needs to be processed.Dr. Bruce Miller, a bat acoustics expert, took us on an exciting journey during the workshop “Bats Equal BIG DATA Challenges” at the University of Florida on 1 February 2018 in collaboration with the UF Biodiversity Institute and the TCD program in the Center for Latin American Studies. 

The workshop provided an introduction to bat acoustics, what call parameters can be measured and what are useful for identifications, as well as to learn about some of the main issues researchers face when dealing with acoustic data. All this represents great resources and valuable information for people interested in working with bat acoustics.

Find the recording of the workshop in the following links:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Bruce Miller Bio

Bruce Miller is a conservation biologist specializing in Neotropical bats. He received a B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During an unplanned 2-year hiatus from his undergraduate studies (unplanned sojourn to Vietnam in the medical corps with the Marines), he actively collected beetles for the Smithsonian. Bruce attended graduate school at the University of Oklahoma (zoogeography and systematics) and has a PhD in Ecology, University of Kent, Canterbury, U. K. He has been active in conservation biology for nearly 50 years beginning with his undergraduate days at U.N.L.V. in the late 1960s when he worked on water beetles in remnant hot springs in Death Valley. He spent ten years working in U.S. zoos on captive management of endangered species. The last 6 of those years he was the Curator of Birds, Research and Records at the Oklahoma City Zoo. He returned to field biology and moved to Belize in 1986 with his wife Carolyn, under the auspices of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Their work focused protected areas management and conservation ecology for more than 25 years. In the mid-1990s Bruce began pioneering work on bat acoustics as new bat detector technology was becoming available. He focused on bat ecology evaluating use of acoustic data to determine relative abundance and species compositions of habitats. In addition to co-managing the WCS Belize terrestrial conservation program with Carolyn, he travelled widely in Central and South America recording bats from Mexico to Bolivia and Cuba concurrently teaching >20 courses on using bat acoustics as a cost effective, non-invasive survey method. He has published many papers on bats; the first was in 1972 as an undergraduate. During the last 20 years bat related publications included a paper presenting a method he developed for determining relative activity of free flying bats using a new activity index for acoustic data and a risk assessment of the bats of Belize. He continues working on identifying bats by their unique vocal signatures and developing tools to assist others in identifying bats and manage their acoustic data. Although the Millers retired from WCS in 2008, Bruce continues bat conservation efforts and work in the area of bat acoustics. The Millers returned to the U.S. in 2012 and Bruce remains active in bat research with a focus on mentoring the next generation. He continues refining acoustic tools he has developed over the past 20 years and maintains a database of New World bat calls with >1.8 million records. He is collaborating with other researchers to complete and make freely available, bat species call fact sheets and an updated interactive ID key for the vocal signatures of New World bats. For more information about Dr. Miller, click Here.