Paul Webala is a National Geographic Explorer, published author, and a senior lecturer of wildlife biology at Maasai Mara University, Kenya. He has held positions at National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Karatina University (Kenya) and he is former Head of Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management and Director for Research at Maasai Mara University (MMARAU). He is a regional expert on small mammals, especially bats, with extensive fieldwork experience. Using standard sampling methods (mist nets, harp traps, hand nets), molecular techniques, acoustics, and radio-telemetry, Paul uses bats as a focal group to understand and interrogate processes that drive rarity and abundance of mammals in natural, and human-dominated, environments. He is primarily a community ecologist, although his research addresses a variety of important questions for improving bat conservation in Africa. His research also spans several subfields of biology, as my work examines behavioral, ecological and systematic/ taxonomic questions. He has collaborated with prominent biologists around the world, further emphasizing the high quality of his work and his commitment to bat research and conservation. He is a member of the Bat Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. He is also a research associate with the NMK, KWS, Bat Conservation International (www.batcon.org) and the Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH, Chicago, IL., USA). In addition, he is the current Chair of the nascent Bat Conservation Africa (www.batconafrica.net/), a network of African biologists, naturalists, conservationists, bat interest groups, students and other stakeholders to promote collaboration and coordination on numerous trans-boundary issues involving bats.
September 2018 – ongoing: ESIA Regional Senior Bat Specialist: Bat monitoring surveys at Meru Renewable Energy Project. Client: Windlab Developments Kenya Pty Ltd. (Windlab)
2016-2017: ESIA Regional Senior Bat Specialist: Bat monitoring surveys at the proposed Meru Wind Park Project. Client: STRIX Ltd, Portugal.
2016: ESIA Regional Senior Bat Specialist: Ecological impact assessment on bats for proposed wind power turbine planned in Turkana, Marsabit and Wajir Counties in Northern Kenya. Client: Frontier Investment Management Pty Ltd, Denmark.
(i) Key publications
Webala PW, Mwaura J, Ndiritu GG, Patterson BD (2019) Effects of habitat fragmentation on the bats of Kakamega forest, western Kenya. Journal of Tropical Ecology 1-10.https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266467419000221
Webala PW, Rydell J, Dick CW, Musila S, Patterson BD(2019). Echolocation calls of high-duty-cycle bats (Hipposideridae and Rhinonycteridae) from Kenya. Journal of Bat Research & Conservation12, 10-20.https://doi.org/10.14709/BarbJ.12.1.2019.02.
Patterson BD, Webala PW, Kerbis-Peterhans JC, Goodman SM,Bartonjo M, Terrence DC(2019). Genetic variation and relationships among Afrotropical species of Myotis Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae).Journal of Mammalogy. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyz087.
Forbes KM, WebalaPW, Jääskeläinen AJ, Ogola J, Masika MM, Kivistö E, Alburkat H, Pljusnin I, Levanov L, Korhonen EM, Huhtamo E, Mwaengo D, Smura T, Anzala O, Vapalahti O, Sironen T. (2019).Bombali Virus in Mops condylurusBat, Kenya. Emerging Infectious Diseases25(5), 955-957. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2505.181666.
Samuel N. Mahiga SN, Webala P, Mware MJ, Ndang’ang’a P (2019) Influence of Land-Use Type on Forest Bird Community Composition in Mount Kenya Forest. International Journal of Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/8248270
Otieno TO, Goheen JR, Webala PW, Mwangi A, Osuga IM, Ford, AT (2019) Human- and risk-mediated browsing pressure by sympatric antelope in an African savanna. Biological Conservation232: 59–65. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.01.028
Musila S, Monadjem A, Webala PW, Patterson BD, Hutterer R, Jong YA, Butynski TM, Mwangi G, Chen ZZ, Xue-Long Jiang XL (2019) An annotated checklist of mammals of Kenya. Zoological Research40(1): 1–51. doi: https://doi.org/10. 24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.059
Demos TC, Webala PW, Bartonjo M and Patterson BD (2018) Hidden Diversity of African Yellow House Bats (Vespertilionidae, Scotophilus): Insights from Multilocus Phylogenetics and Lineage Delimitation. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution6: 86. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2018.00086
Patterson BD, Webala PW, Bartonjo M, Dick CW, Terrence DC (2018) On the taxonomic status and distribution of African species of Otomops(Chiroptera: Molossidae). PeerJ 6:e4864; DOI 10.7717/peerj.4864
Jacobs DS, Catto S, Mutumi GL, Finger N, Webala PW (2017) Testing the Sensory Drive Hypothesis: Geographic variation in echolocation frequencies of Geoffroy’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophidae: Rhinolophus clivosus). PLoS ONE 12(11): e0187769. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal. pone.0187769
Phillips CD, Hanson JD, Wilkinson J, Koenig L, Rees E, Webala P, Kingston T (2017) Microbiome Structural and Functional Interactions across Host Dietary Niche Space. Integrative and Comparative Biology, pp 1-13. DOI:1093/icb/icx011
Wechuli, D. B., Webala, P. W., Patterson, B. D. and Ochieng, R. S. (2017) Bat species diversity and distribution in a disturbed regime at the Lake Bogoria National Reserve, Kenya. African Journal of Ecology55: 465–476. doi:10.1111/aje.12376
López-Baucells, A., Rocha, R., Webala, PW., Nair, A., Uusitalo, R., Sironen, T., Forbes, K.M. (2016) Rapid assessment of bat diversity in the Taita Hills Afromontane cloud forests, southeastern Kenya. Barbastella, Journal of Bat Research 9(1). DOI: 10.14709/BarbJ.9.1.2016.04
Jacobs, D.S. Mutumi, G.L. Maluleke, T. Webala, PW. (2016). Convergence as an evolutionary trade-off in the evolution of acoustic signals: echolocation in horseshoe bats as a case study. in Evolutionary Biology: Convergent evolution, evolution of complex traits, concepts and methods (ed) P. Pontarotti. Springer Press, Heidelberg. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-41324-2_6
Lutz, H. L., Patterson, B. D., Kerbis, J. C., Stanley, W. T., Webala, P. W., Gnoske, T. P., Hackett, S. J., Stanhope, M. J. 2016. Diverse sampling of East African haemosporidians reveals chiropteran origin of malaria parasites in primates and rodents. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution99, 7–15. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.03.004
Webala P. W., Musila, S., Makau R. 2014. Roost occupancy, roost site selection and diet of straw-colored fruit bats (Pteropodidae: Eidolon helvum) in western Kenya: the need for continued public education. Acta Chiropterologica 16(1),85–94. doi: 10.3161/150811014X683291
Patterson, B.D., Webala, P.W. 2012. Keys to the bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of East Africa. Fieldiana: Life and Earth Sciences6, 1-63. https://doi.org/10.3158/2158-5520-12.6.1
Webala, P. W., Craig, M.D., Law, B.S., Wayne, A.F., Bradley, J.S. 2010. Roost site selection by southern forest bat Vespadelus regulusand Gould’s long-eared bat Nyctophilus gouldi in logged jarrah forests; south-western Australia. Forest Ecology and Management260, 1780–1790. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2010.08.022
Webala, P. W., Craig, M.D., Law, B.S., Armstrong, K.N.,Wayne, A.F., Bradley, J.S. 2011. Bat habitat use in logged jarrah eucalypt forests, south-western Australia. Journal of Applied Ecology48(2), 398–406. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01934.x
(ii) Other significant publications
Webala, P.W., Carugati, C., Fasola, M. 2010. Diversity in small mammals from eastern Lake Turkana, Kenya. TropicalZoology 23, 9-20.
Kityo, R., Howell, K., Nakibuka, M., Ngalason, W., Tushabe, H. and Webala, P. W. East African Bat Atlas.Graphics Printing Press, Kampala, Uganda. Pp. 74
Webala, P. W., Carugati, C, Canova, L., Fasola, M. 2009. Bat assemblages from Eastern Lake Turkana, Kenya. Écol. (Terre Vie)64,85–91.
Webala, P. W., Muriuki, G., Lala, F., Bett A. 2006. The Small Mammal Community of Mukogodo Forest, Laikipia, Kenya. African Journal of Ecology44,363–370. doi: 1111/j.1365-2028.2006.00634.x
Webala, P. W., Oguge, N. O., Bekele Afework. 2004. Bat Species Diversity and Distribution in three vegetation communities of Meru National Park, Kenya. African Journal of Ecology 42 (3), 171- 178. doi: 1111/j.1365-2028.2004.00505.x
2018 – Strategic Environmental Assessment (identification and validation) of priority features (Valued Ecological Components, VECs) for Strategic Environmental Assessment of Wind Power and Biodiversity (bats and birds) in Kenya.
2018 - 2019: Inventory and Monitoring of Rwanda’s Bat Biodiversity. Project funded by the National Geographic Society