Meet our team
Paul Webala, PhD
Network co-founder & Board of Directors
Luis Víquez, PhD
Board of Directors
Luisa Gómez, MSc
Capacity Building Coordinator
I am a Colombian bat biologist affiliated to Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. I am especially interested in animal social and cognitive behaviour. I started my career researching the incredible frog-eating bats in Panama trying to understand the role of different sensory modalities in their foraging behavior. I later journeyed to Europe to study the roosting ecology and social behaviour of noctule bats. I believe bats offer a window to understand the mechanisms that shape our sociality and that we have a lot to learn from them.
We, as a global community of bat allies, are better off improving our communication and working together to address the pressing threats bats face worldwide, so that we can ultimately achieve more for their conservation.
As the GSB Capacity Building Coordinator, I aim to strengthen the exchange of ideas and practical skills between people across our diverse network. By expanding cooperation and inclusion, we will make conservation science more accessible for everyone and will put the Global South at the forefront of bat conservation. Through science communication, I am passionate about enhancing the engagement of different audiences and I envision a community where people across different continents, disciplines and backgrounds thrive in understanding and protecting bats.
Begoña Iñarritu, BSc
Bismark Opoku, MSc
Africa Regional Manager
I am a Ghanaian bat researcher and PhD student at Ulm University, Germany. I am currently studying the feeding ecology, echolocation calls and dietary adaptions of Western African bats across modified landscapes.
During my voluntary work at BatLife in Central Ghana, I became interested in understanding how bats adapt to rapid changes in their habitat. These changes might affect where a bat lives or what it eats and directly impact the people who share the same space. I believe that linking the role that bats play in the ecosystem and how humans and bats are affected by human-induced changes is pivotal to achieving a positive difference in how we perceive bats and their importance. To this effect, I spend a good amount of my time promoting conservation efforts in local communities and delivering educational talks at local schools near my fieldwork sites.
We need to answer many questions to protect our biodiversity better - especially in hotspots of the Global South. As the GSB African Regional Manager, I strive to motivate young people and encourage my fellow African friends to become part of the scientific community, lead conservation projects in their countries and work together to expand our network.
Angelica Menchaca, PhD
Cecilia Montauban, MRes
Latin-America Regional Manager
I am a Peruvian bat biologist and PhD student at Imperial College and the Natural History Museum of London. I specialise in bat acoustics and genetics to investigate cryptic diversity and natural ecosystem service provision, and how these are affected by land use change.
I research bats in Latin America, Europe and Africa; and am particularly interested in understanding how evolving technologies and citizen science can be used to effectively study and monitor bat diversity in different habitats and regions. Working across these regions, I soon realised the similarity in the threats and problems that bats face - ranging from habitat destruction to human perception. I believe that in order to protect our planet, people from across the globe need to work together and strengthen their capacities.
Having been born in South Africa and raised in Peru, I’m extremely enthusiastic about the vision of a Global South network uniting bat conservation forces across continents. As the GSB Program Manager of Latin America I aim to build the GSB network and establish cross-regional collaborations between passionate and committed bat researchers - to help expand the reach of the bat conservation work we do.
Yogishah Bunsy, MS
Ugo Diniz, BSc
Digital Content Coordinator
I am a Master's student of Ecology at the University of Brasilia, Brazil. I study bat pollination and interactions between animals and plants. I wonder how bats select their food among the variety of options in the Brazilian landscape. I am working at the Cerrado and Caatinga, a highly distinctive ecosystem of South America, unique for its endemic biodiversity but poor conservation status.
I am a scientific illustrator, and I try to portray the beauty and artistic inspiration that nature provides and that can help convey scientific concepts. My drawings have been used in papers, presentations, logos and more.
As the Editor Content Coordinator at the GSB, I like to use my illustration and writing skills to help others communicate their work, achievements, adventures and discoveries. I believe that science can guide us in understanding our natural world. Still, effective science communication is key to inspire people to take action and make a difference for species and ecosystems at risk. My goal in the GSB network is to help create content that encourages everyone to care about bats and learn about their importance in their daily lives.