The Museum of Natural History congratulates Dr. Ahana Aurora Fernandez on receiving this year's Marthe Vogt Award. Fernandez is a scientist at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and studied the vocalizations of greater sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata) in tropical rainforests of Costa Rica and Panama as part of the ERC Starting Grant project CULTSONG working group.
The project, led by PD Dr. Mirjam Knörnschild, a member of the leadership team of the science programme Dynamics of Nature at the museum, has been contributing to the elucidation of song dialects of different bat species since 2019.
Dr. Fernandez's descriptive and experimental work features unique insights to date into the ontogeny of the voices of greater sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata). The scientific study of that bat species points to individual developments of vocalizations and timbres in social-geographical environments.
The research results so far reveal that the exercise behavior of young bats have many parallels to the human early childhood "babbling phase", as well as that bat mothers use their vocalization repertoire to support young in their "babbling phase" and further development. It is the first evidence of similarities in voice and communication development between humans and another known mammalian species. Read more here.
The Marthe Vogt Award is awarded annually to a young female scientist who works in a field that is being worked on by the institutes of the Leibniz Research Association Berlin. The fields of work of the institutes include information and communication technology, structural research, optoelectronics and laser research, microsystems technology, new materials, applied mathematics, molecular medicine and biology, veterinary medicine, biotechnology and environmental research. The dissertation must have been written at a university in Berlin or Brandenburg.