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Director for Research

Specialization: Wildlife Biologist

Mobile Number: +254 704000775, E-Mail Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Dr. Paul Webala is a wildlife biologist, with more than 15 years experience as a research scientist and academician. He has held positions at National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Karatina University (Kenya) and currently he is the Director for Research at Maasai Mara University (MMU).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, landscapes. 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 his work examines behavioural, 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 and the Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH, Chicago, IL., USA). In addition, he is the current Chair of the nascent Bat Conservation Africa (, 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 

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  • Patterson BD, Webala, PW, Bartonjo, M, Dick, CW, Terrence DC  (Under Review) On the taxonomic status and distribution of African species of Otomops (Chiroptera: Molossidae). Journal Peer J (
  • Webala PW, Mwaura J, Ndiritu GG, Patterson BD (Under review) The effect of habitat fragmentation on the bats of Kakamega forest, western Kenya. Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • 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. 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
  • López-Baucells, A., Rocha, R., Webala, P., 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
  • Wechuli, D. B., Webala, P. W., Patterson, B. D., Ochieng’, R. S. 2016. Bat Species Diversity and Distribution in a Disturbed Regime at the Lake Bogoria National Reserve, Kenya. African Journal of Ecology. Online version. doi: 10.1111/aje.12376
  • Jacobs, D.S. Mutumi, G.L. Maluleke, T. Webala, P. (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. 2016Diverse 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 Sciences 6, 1-63. doi: 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 regulus and Gould’s long-eared bat Nyctophilus gouldi in logged jarrah forests; south-western Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 260, 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 Ecology 48(2), 398–406. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01934.x
  • Webala, P.W., Carugati, C., Fasola, M. 2010. Diversity in small mammals from eastern Lake Turkana, Kenya. Tropical Zoology 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 Ecology 44, 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

 Current projects

  • 2018 - 2019: Inventory and Monitoring of Rwanda’s Bat Biodiversity. Project funded by the National Geographic Society (


Collaborations and Linkages

University of Pau-France

It was requested that MMU to host one French Master of Tourism student for internship in 2014.The details to be discussed between Dean Tourism MMU and Director Tourism University of Pau France after the conference.

Clemson University - U.S.A.

Exchange research, training and workshop conference Developing a tourism information system for Maasai Mara Game Reserve

University of Bordeaux 3-France

Establishment of a French Language Institute/ centre Maasai Mara University is currently teaching French language to students undertaking tourism, arts and hospitality courses.

Aarhus University- Denmark

Establish and promote joint research, development projects and academic cooperation with focus on the Maasai Mara (ecosystem, living conditions, economic growth and biodiversity)

Regents University-London-U.K

Areas of collaboration: Education cooperation and articulation programmes. Research collaboration Exchange of students, faculty and staff members Joint consultancy activities Knowledge transfer Participation in seminar and academic meetings Exchange of academic materials and other information.

Kenya Industrial Estates

Create incubation centers and incubate student's projects with potential for commercialization. Attachment of MMU staff to enterprise funded through KIE for purposes of gaining experience that would be ploughed back into teaching.

University of Hertfordshire.- London-U.K

To conduct a survey to identify current research, educational, policy and regulatory activities (Governmental, academic, NGO)

University of Munster, Germany

The parties agree to collaborate in the following area of mutual interest: Explore possibilities for joint research programmes, Exchanges for students.

Physical Address

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P.O. Box 861 - 20500, Narok, Kenya 


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