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Hanging out with U of R bat biologist, Dana Green

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: September 16, 2021 5:00 a.m.

Dana Green, a.k.a. @TheEyePatchBiologist, is sharing her PhD bat research on TikTok
Dana Green, a.k.a. @TheEyePatchBiologist, is sharing her PhD bat research on TikTok Photo: Dana Green

Dana Green feels most at home in the deep woods in the middle of the night because that’s where the bats are. 

While some may shudder at the thought of encountering a bat, Green makes it her mission to encounter as many bats as possible through her field research at the University of Regina Field Station in Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan. Green is a wildlife biologist and PhD candidate studying the migratory behaviours of the hoary and silver-haired bat species, both of which are known to migrate to the Cypress Hills region each year to have their offspring (pups). 

Green’s research journey has been full of ups and downs and now she’s finding a new way to share her findings on TikTok under the alias @TheEyePatchBiologist (Green lost vision in her right eye in 2019, right before the start of her first field season). Science communication has become a new passion of Green’s and TikTok has been the perfect platform to educate and inspire her followers about the research she’s doing at the U of R. Green enjoys having the opportunity to shift people’s perspectives on bats, a species that is often demonized. 

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Photo: Dana Green

Green’s most popular TikTok video, which has over 350,000 views, is of a Hoary Bat being given water from a dropper, an image Green compares to a “little toasted marshmallow puffball.” Short form videos like these allow Green to show the furry creatures in a new light and communicate almost instantly with her followers, which have grown from just a couple hundred last spring to her current total of over 23,000. 

“TikTok has been a fun tool to use for science communication and has been really effective in shifting the mindset from bats being something to be afraid of, to bats being something that are really interesting and much more than just a scary, tiny critter,” said Green. 

Educating others is another passion for Green, who mentors U of R undergrad students studying at the Cypress Hills Field Station and also spends time as a sessional lecturer at the U of R. 

“Getting introduced to field-based research and science in general as an undergrad is what changed my life,” said Green. “Being able to now be that person who gets to expose undergrad students to this world of possibilities is really fun and rewarding.” 

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Green in the field with her two field
assistants: Fourth year undergraduate
Joshua Christiansen and new masters
student Hannah Wilson
Photo: Dana Green

Green’s undergrad experience and pursuit of a career in wildlife biology has taken her across North America. Green was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, went to Missouri State University, became a big cat keeper at a tiger sanctuary in southern Missouri, took her masters at Northern Arizona University, and participated in field research across the United States and Mexico. 

“Throughout university, people my age were into going out and having fun,” said Green. “I also like to go out and have fun, but my idea of fun was going out and netting bats, catching small mammals, or looking for salamanders.” 

While attending an academic conference, Green was introduced to Dr. Erin Baerwald and later to Dr. Mark Brigham, who both recruited Green to come to the U of R to pursue her PhD and research bats at the Cypress Hills Field Station. Brigham and Baerwald have played significant roles in Green’s journey, co-supervising her thesis project and being endless sources of knowledge and inspiration for Green. 

“Nothing I am doing or working on would have been possible if it wasn’t for the amazing foundational work, the decades of relationship building and research done at the Cypress Hills Field Station with Dr. Mark Brigham and countless other researchers over the years, and the support of the University of Regina, who keeps the field station going,” said Green. 

Green’s estimated PhD completion date is September 2023; until then, you can find her nestled in the deep dark woods of Cypress Hills catching little toasted marshmallow puffballs.

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Photo: Joshua Christansen

 

 

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