Big congratulations to Abigail Case for winning the Best Poster Prize at the Mammal Society 4th Student Conference at Lancaster University, April 2015. Her poster was entitled “Developing a methodology to detect the presence of cat (Felis catus) DNA on bats (Pipistrellus spp)”. Abbie is doing an MSc in Conservation Biology at MMU with Dr Kirsty Shaw and Dr Robyn Grant.

As part of her MSc project, Abbie is developing a methodology to identify the presence of cat DNA on injured or perished bat wing, in order to better quantify the occurrence of cat attacks. Indeed, it has been estimated that around 250,000 bats, mainly Pipistrelles, are killed by domestic cats (Felis catus) every year. Abbie extracted both cat and bat DNA from buccal cells using the Chelex method, and amplified it using PCR. Using species-specific primers, both the cat and bat DNA could be identified.

This methodology will now be tested on torn bat wings to assess whether cat DNA is present and should provide clues as to the cause of wing tears in injured bats. You can find out how you can help with Abbie’s project by looking at her website.