The Project


The project began in 2002 at The New York Botanical Garden and was used as background research for the book Seed Dispersal by Bats in the Neotropics by Tatyana Lobova, Cullen Geiselman, and Scott Mori and to prepare the list of bat-pollinated plants in the Annals of Botany article "The evolution of bat pollination: a phylogenetic perspective" by Theodore Fleming, Cullen Geiselman, and W. John Kress.

The original Access Database available at www.nybg.org focused only on bat-plant interactions in the Neotropics and recorded bat species, genus, and family; plant species, genus, and family; type of interaction (pollination or seed dispersal); and author(s) of the publication where the data was obtained. A complete list of citations was also available on the website.

Over time, it became apparent that additional data would be useful, such as location, habitat type, and more specific detail on the types of interactions. This launched a new phase of the database and it was moved to www.batplant.org and rebuilt using the open-source framework Symfony. The new database no longer focuses only on bat-plant interactions, but now also includes bat interactions with arthropods and has been expanded to include data gathered from all over the world, not just the Neotropics. We realized that an undertaking of this size would take years to do alone and have invited the community to help us enter data using a unique Chrome App that we are building to facilitate offline data entry, editing, and manipulation.

Future Developments

The features of the database are being actively developed. Click here to read about what's coming soon.


We have launched the beta-testing phase of the database and look forward to feedback from our users.

Register to be part of Bat Eco-Interactions!

Contact us

If you have suggestions or questions, please contact us at info@batplant.org.

The Bat Eco-Interactions Team

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Cullen Geiselman began her career studying bats in 1998 when she joined the staff of Bat Conservation International (BCI), where she taught bat research and land management workshops in Arizona, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, led natural history tours to Belize, Kenya, and Brazil, developed educational materials for children and adults, as well as presented numerous formal and informal lectures across the US.

In an effort to learn more about bats and conservation methods, she entered graduate school at Columbia University in 2003. There she worked with botanist Scott Mori of the New York Botanical Garden investigating the role of bats in seed dispersal and pollination in lowland rainforests of South America. During this time she spent two years collecting data in an isolated research station in French Guiana and coauthored a book entitled Seed Dispersal by Bats in the Neotropics. In May 2010 she received her doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Columbia University.

Cullen currently lives in Houston, administers a family foundation funding healthcare initiatives in the greater Houston area, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, the Houston Zoo, the Houston Parks Board, the Houston Advanced Research Center and other not-for-profit groups dedicated to preserving and expanding green space for the benefit of people and nature. She continues her work with bats by serving as chair of the board of Bat Conservation International, collaborating with students in Africa and Latin America, and hosting the online Bat Eco-Interactions database.

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Tuli Defex is an interdisciplinary environmentalist from Colombia who has been involved in a wide variety of projects in Latin America, North America, and Africa. She has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Masters in Agribusiness Management from Universidad de La Salle in Colombia, and holds a PhD in Environmental Mgmt and Conservation from Texas A&M University.

Early on in her career she joined the government of Colombia to establish an Amazonian wildlife rehabilitation center to combat wildlife trafficking and increase the livelihood of the indigenous communities. She acted as a consultant for the Congress of Colombia on a diversity of initiatives involving agricultural practices, public health, and mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts. Later on she was part of the USNPS-Inventory and Monitory program where she led a systems approach for management of US National Parks at ecoregional levels. She also joined the Global Species Programme at IUCN in Washington D.C. where she managed a portfolio of conservation projects for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Tuli is currently an appointed member at the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management for the North America and Caribbean.

She brings her systems approach and expertise managing multidisciplinary projects and large databases to Bat Eco-Interactions. She always has been fascinated about the interconnection and interdependency between nature, humans & animals, and has focused on bringing holistic solutions to optimize our actions and achieve top levels of sustainability.

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Taylor Brown is a software developer, database architect, and a strong advocate for the free and open source software (FOSS) movement. For 25 years, he's designed and coded database driven software for a both the web and the desktop.

He first began working with the bat eco-interactions database well over a decade ago, when it was still called the Bat-Plant Interactions Database and was hosted at the New York Botanical Gardens website. In preparation for the current round of development, he spent several months studying biodiversity infomatics and the various data format standards created in recent years to make it easier for ecological research projects to share data.

He is developing the database and the website back-end components of this site to be abstracted in such a way that they can be used as a framework for any web site that needs to publish data on observed eco-interactions. He looks forward to making this framwwork avaialbe as free and open source software.

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Sarah Younger is a Software Developer who started with batplant.org as an intern and has become enthusiastic about the potential of this project to lower the bar for information sharing and participation by citizen scientists.

She intends to help this website, and various supplemental projects, develop into highly functional tools that facilitate research and data accessibility.

She is passionate about biodiveristy and ecological issues, and sees the potential for synergy between Citizen Science and Open Source Software to help us better understand the planet, our home.