Susan Loeb Wins Lifetime Achievement Award
March 25, 2014
Clemson, SC — This February, U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Susan Loeb received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network at the organization’s 19th annual meeting held in Nacogdoches, Texas. Loeb was honored for the decades of research on bat ecology and conservation she has conducted as a Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist.
Loeb, stationed at Clemson University in South Carolina, started her Forest Service research career focusing on small mammals other than bats. In 1999, when SRS shifted her priorities to bats, Loeb first conducted a thorough literature review and identified significant gaps in knowledge about bat species and ecology in the Southeast. Since then, she’s devoted her time and enthusiasm to answering questions about bat ecology and conservation, as well as identifying and teaching others best practices for studying bats.
Since 1999, Loeb has been involved in several projects on the endangered Indiana bat, ranging from understanding the species’ roost ecology to assessing the effects of climate change on the future distribution of the species. With funding from the Joint Fire Science Program, Loeb conducted a study on the effects of prescribed burning on Indiana bat roost habitat in the southern Appalachians with former student Joy O’Keefe, now assistant professor at Indiana State University (ISU) and director of the ISU Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation. Last spring Loeb and O’Keefe organized a two-day workshop for land managers based on their findings so far.
Loeb also became interested in studying Rafinesque’s big-eared bats in South Carolina, where there was little published research on the species. With several colleagues, Loeb organized a symposium on the ecology and conservation of big-eared bats and served as co-editor for the conference proceedings, which were published by SRS in 2011.
Recently Loeb, along with other Forest Service researchers, received funding from two different U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants, one to further develop the National American Bat Monitoring program, and the other to investigate survival rates and dispersal of cave-dwelling bats in the southern and midwestern U.S.