Kunz Biography

Thomas H. Kunz


is a Professor of Biology and the Director of the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology at Boston University, where he has been on the faculty since 1971. He received a BA in Biology and MA in Education from the University of Central Missouri, a MA in Biology from Drake University, and a Ph.D. in Systematics and Ecology from the University of Kansas. His research focuses on the ecology, behavior, evolution, and conservation biology of bats. He is the author or co-author of more than 240 publications and is the editor of Ecology of Bats (Plenum Press, 1982) and Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1988); and co-editor of Bat Biology and Conservation (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998), Bat Ecology (University of Chicago Press, 2003), Functional and Evolutionary Ecology of Bats (Oxford University Press, 2006), and the 2nd edition of Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Past-President of the American Society of Mammalogists, and a recipient of the Gerrit S. Miller Jr. Award for outstanding research on bats and the C. Hart Merriam Award for outstanding contributions to the discipline of mammalogy. He was the 2008 recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Karst Waters Institute, and was elected to honorary membership in the American Society of Mammalogists (the highest award given by the society). He has conducted field research in mid-western, northeastern and southwestern regions of the United States, and in India, Malaysia, Ecuador, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica.

Tom Kunz performing field work in Texas, 2009.Most of his past and current research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation. His current work focuses on assessing the ecological and economic impact of Brazilian free-tailed bats on agroecosystems, assessing the impacts of wind-energy development on bats, and assessing the effects of white-nose syndrome on hibernating bats – a disease that has led to the most precipitous decline of bat populations in recorded history. He developed numerous methods for the ecological and behavioral studies of bats and has recently pioneered applications of thermal infrared imaging in ecology and behavior. He was recently a member of a National Research Council committee investigating Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy, and led a National Wind Coordinating Committee charged with preparing a document entitled Methods and Metrics for Studying the Impacts of Wind Power on Bats and Nocturnally-Active Birds. He introduced the concept of Aeroecology, an emerging discipline that embraces and integrates the domains of atmospheric science, animal behavior, ecology, evolution, earth science, geography, computer science, computational biology, and engineering. He is a founding co-director of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in eastern Ecuador.