Paul Cryan, Ph.D.
Mysteries, underdogs, and gadgets have always fascinated me, so for the past two decades I have focused my research on using technology to reveal how some of the 43+ species of U.S. bats live their cryptic lives. My particular interests include uncovering bat migration behaviors and seasonal movements, discovering the details of their winter hideouts and survival strategies, and understanding how infectious diseases influence bat populations. What began as general interest in an understudied group of mammals has grown into a practical search for answers to two of the most pressing threats currently facing U.S. bats - fatalities at wind turbines and the emerging disease known as white-nose syndrome. My basic research approach is to start by synthesizing natural history and existing information, then test plausible new hypotheses in a scientifically defensible way through observational and experimental field studies. I gravitate toward new collaborations and technologies that take us beyond existing methods and expand our abilities to follow and discover what (and how) bats are doing out there in the dark.
- Ph.D. Biology, University of New Mexico, 2003
- M.S. Biology, University of New Mexico, 1997
- B.A. Biology, The Evergreen State College, 1991
- 2003 to present, Research Biologist, USGS Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, CO
- 1999 to 2003, Student Trainee (SCEP), USGS Arid Lands Field Station (Fort Collins Science Center), Albuquerque, NM
- 1994 to 1997 & 1999 to 2002, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
- 1998 to 1999, Wildlife Biologist, USGS Arid Lands Field Station (Fort Collins Science Center), Albuquerque, NM
- 1995 to 1997, Biological Science Technician, USGS Arid Lands Field Station (Fort Collins Science Center), Albuquerque, NM
Science and Products
Bat flight and zoonotic viruses
Bats are sources of high viral diversity and high-profile zoonotic viruses worldwide. Although apparently not pathogenic in their reservoir hosts, some viruses from bats severely affect other mammals, including humans. Examples include severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses, Ebola and Marburg viruses, and Nipah and Hendra viruses. Factors...O'Shea, Thomas J.; Cryan, Paul M.; Cunningham, Andrew A.; Fooks, Anthony R.; Hayman, David T.S.; Luis, Angela D.; Peel, Alison J.; Plowright, Raina K.; Wood, James L.N.
Continental-scale, seasonal movements of a heterothermic migratory tree bat
Long-distance migration evolved independently in bats and unique migration behaviors are likely, but because of their cryptic lifestyles, many details remain unknown. North American hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus cinereus) roost in trees year-round and probably migrate farther than any other bats, yet we still lack basic information about their...Cryan, Paul M.; Stricker, Craig A.; Wunder, Michael B.
Market forces and technological substitutes cause fluctuations in the value of bat pest-control services for cotton
Critics of the market-based, ecosystem services approach to biodiversity conservation worry that volatile market conditions and technological substitutes will diminish the value of ecosystem services and obviate the “economic benefits” arguments for conservation. To explore the effects of market forces and substitutes on service values, we...López-Hoffman, Laura; Wiederholt, Ruscena; Sansone, Chris; Bagstad, Kenneth J.; Cryan, Paul M.; Diffendorfer, James E.; Goldstein, Joshua; LaSharr, Kelsie; Loomis, John; McCracken, Gary; Medellin, Rodrigo A.; Russell, Amy; Semmens, Darius J.
Pathophysiology of white-nose syndrome in bats: a mechanistic model linking wing damage to mortality
White-nose syndrome is devastating North American bat populations but we lack basic information on disease mechanisms. Altered blood physiology owing to epidermal invasion by the fungal pathogen Geomyces destructans (Gd) has been hypothesized as a cause of disrupted torpor patterns of affected hibernating bats, leading to mortality. Here, we...Warnecke, Lisa; Turner, James M.; Bollinger, Trent K.; Misra, Vikram; Cryan, Paul M.; Blehert, David S.; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Willis, Craig K.R.
Roost selection by western long-eared myotis (Myotis evotis) in burned and unburned piñon–juniper woodlands of southwestern Colorado
All 16 species of bats known to occur in western Colorado are found at Mesa Verde National Park (MVNP) in the southwestern United States. Since 1996, wildfires have burned more than 70% of MVNP (> 15,000 ha), potentially altering food and roosting resources for bats. During the summers of 2006–2007, we investigated roost use by reproductive...Snider, E. Apple; Cryan, Paul M.; Wilson, Kenneth R.
Electrolyte depletion in white-nose syndrome bats
The emerging wildlife disease white-nose syndrome is causing widespread mortality in hibernating North American bats. White-nose syndrome occurs when the fungus Geomyces destructans infects the living skin of bats during hibernation, but links between infection and mortality are underexplored. We analyzed blood from hibernating bats and compared...Cryan, Paul M.; Meteyer, Carol Uphoff; Blehert, David S.; Lorch, Jeffrey M.; Reeder, DeeAnn M.; Turner, Gregory G.; Webb, Julie; Behr, Melissa; Verant, Michelle L.; Russell, Robin E.; Castle, Kevin T.
White-nose syndrome in bats: Illuminating the darkness
Happy ten-year anniversary to BMC Biology! We can attest to the effectiveness of the journal in reaching a great diversity of scientists based on reader responses to our commentary  about bat white-nose syndrome (WNS) two years ago. WNS is still on course to rank among the most destructive wildlife diseases to emerge in recent history, and it...Cryan, Paul M.; Meteyer, Carol U.; Boyles, Justin G.; Blehert, David S.
A comparison of bats and rodents as reservoirs of zoonotic viruses: are bats special?
Bats are the natural reservoirs of a number of high-impact viral zoonoses. We present a quantitative analysis to address the hypothesis that bats are unique in their propensity to host zoonotic viruses based on a comparison with rodents, another important host order. We found that bats indeed host more zoonotic viruses per species than rodents,...Luis, Angela D.; Hayman, David T.S.; O'Shea, Thomas J.; Cryan, Paul M.; Gilbert, Amy T.; Pulliam, Juliet R.C.; Mills, James N.; Timonin, Mary E.; Willis, Craig K.R.; Cunningham, Andrew A.; Fooks, Anthony R.; Rupprecht, Charles E.; Wood, James L.N.; Webb, Colleen T.
Insect prey eaten by Hoary Bats (Lasiurus cinereus) prior to fatal collisions with wind turbines
Wind turbines are being deployed all across the world to meet the growing demand for energy, and in many areas, these turbines are causing the deaths of insectivorous migratory bats. One of the hypothesized causes of bat susceptibility is that bats are attracted to insects on or near the turbines. We examined insect remains in the stomachs and...Valdez, Ernest W.; Cryan, Paul M.
On estimating the economic value of insectivorous bats: Prospects and priorities for biologists
Bats are among the most economically important nondomesticated mammals in the world. They are well-known pollinators and seed dispersers, but crop pest suppression is probably the most valuable ecosystem service provided by bats. Scientific literature and popular media often include reports of crop pests in the diet of bats and anecdotal or...Boyles, Justin G.; Sole, Catherine L.; Cryan, Paul M.; McCracken, Gary F.
Evidence of cryptic individual specialization in an opportunistic insectivorous bat
Habitat use and feeding behaviors of cryptic animals are often poorly understood. Analyses of stable isotope ratios in animal body tissues can help reveal an individual's location and resource use during tissue growth. We investigated variation in stable isotope ratios of 4 elements (H, C, N, and S) in the hair of a sedentary species of...Cryan, Paul M.; Stricker, Craig A.; Wunder, Michael B.
Evidence of late-summer mating readiness and early sexual maturation in migratory tree-roosting bats found dead at wind turbines
Understanding animal mating systems is an important component of their conservation, yet the precise mating times for many species of bats are unknown. The aim of this study was to better understand the details and timing of reproductive events in species of bats that die most frequently at wind turbines in North America, because such information...Cryan, P.M.; Jameson, J.W.; Baerwald, E.F.; Willis, C.K.R.; Barclay, R.M.R.; Snider, E.A.; Crichton, E.G.