Animal Ecology, Behavior, and Field-biology
Ph.D. in Biology, Auburn University, 2005, Dissertation: Roosting behavior and habitat dynamics of male Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) following a large-scale natural disturbance
M.S. in Biology, Emphasis in Applied Ecology, Eastern Kentucky University, 2001, Thesis: Bat communities of fragmented and intact woodlands in central Kentucky
B.S. in Biology; Virginia Military Institute; 1998
My teaching expertise includes areas ecology, behavior, and conservation. Most of my upper-level courses have a strong field component, to provide hands-on experience with the subject matter and encourage a deeper level of understanding.
General Biology (BI-101 & 102): fundamental concepts and processes important to life
Ecology (BI-312): the relationship between organisms and their environment.
Mammalogy (BI-316): the study of mammals
Herpetology (BI-317): the study of amphibians and reptiles
Natural History & Ecology. My work focuses on the ecology, behavior, and conservation of vertebrates such as bats, amphibians and reptiles. While I am a conservation biologist at heart, you can’t conserve something if you don’t know anything about it. Therefore, most of my research attempts to inform the field of conservation by improving knowledge of ecology and natural history. Recent and ongoing projects are described below. Some of these have been featured on National Public Radio - you can listen to these interviews by visiting the following links:
The Animal House, with host Sam Litzinger (30 October, 2010)
With Good Reason, with host Sarah McConnell (2 October, 2010)
Behavior and ecology of eastern small-footed bats. The eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii) is one of the rarest species of North American bats. Its populations are associated with exposed rock faces in mountainous portions of eastern North America. However, so few studies have been conducted on this species that wildlife managers don't know enough about their populations to know whether they are stable or declining. This lack of information will hamper any attempts to manage the species in the event populations ever do decline. Unfortunately, that situation appears to be upon us. The sudden arrival of White Nose Syndrome in the Northeast and its continued rapid spread into other parts of North America raises serious concerns for this and other species of bats, and highlights the need for basic ecological research. My students and I are addressing this problem by uncovering basic information about the ecology of M. leibii, such as their distribution, population status, diet and habitat needs. Basic information such as this will be critical for developing effective conservation plans.
An adult eastern small footed bat (Myotis leibii):
note the dark skin and small body size.
Acquiring a bat's perspective on echolocation: an interdisciplinary approach to studying how bats use ultrasound to navigate and hunt. The ability of insectivorous bats to navigate and hunt with echolocation is impressive, but the amount of information they perceive with ultrasound remains poorly understood. Explanations about how bats echolocate are generally based on acoustic theory and are difficult to test empirically because most studies on echolocation have used stationary ground-based microphones. The problem with ground-based microphones is that they record bat calls and their echoes only after these have been influenced by the atmosphere and any number of objects in the environment. This makes interpretation of ground-based recordings extremely difficult. To solve this problem, we developed instruments to record ultrasound calls and their resulting echoes in situ from free flying big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). The device has allowed us to successfully record vocalizations and the resulting echoes created by background vegetation, artificial targets, and flying insects. This work is ongoing and promises to produce valuable information for the field of bat biology, but also may have applications in technological fields such as rescue robotics.
Click here to visit the project's web site.
Setting mist nets to capture bats in New Hampshire
15. Thomas, H. H., P. R. Moosman, Jr., J. Pierre Veilleux, and J. Holt. 2012. Foods of bats (Family Vespertilionidae) from five sites in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Canadian Field-Naturalist, in press.
14. Moosman, P. R., Jr., H. H. Thomas, and J. P. Veilleux. 2012. Diet of the widespread insectivorous bats Eptesicus fuscus and Myotis lucifugus relative to climate and richness of bat communities. Journal of Mammalogy 92:491-496.
13. Austin, K. B., P. R. Moosman, and H. H. Thomas. 2011. Eavesdropping on echolocation: Recording the bat's auditory experience. Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC, 2011 Annual International Conference of the IEEE, pp.7682-7686, Aug. 30 2011-Sept. 3 2011, doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6091893.
12. Sharkey, E. K., A. South, P. R. Moosman, C. K. Cratsley, & S. M. Lewis. 2010. Assessing condition-dependence of male flash signals in Photinus fireflies. Journal of Insect Behavior 23:215-225.
11. Moosman, P. R., Jr., C. K. Cratsley, S. D. Lehto, and H. H. Thomas. 2009. Do courtship flashes of fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) serve as aposematic signals to insectivorous bats? Animal Behaviour 78:1019-1025.
10. Austin, K. B., H. H. Thomas, P. R. Moosman, Jr., P. Lustig, B. Crepeau, B. Huff, K. Veasna, M. Tatro, & R. Farnsworth. 2009. Capturing the auditory experience of behaving bats: a preliminary study. Proceedings of the International Conference of Computing in Engineering, Science, and Information, pp. 123-126.
9. Veilleux, J. P., P. R. Moosman, Jr., D. S. Reynolds, K. A. LaGory, L. J. Walston, Jr. 2009. Observations on summer roosting and foraging behavior of a hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) in southern New Hampshire. Northeastern Naturalist 16:148-152.
8. Veilleux, J. P., H. H. Thomas, and P. R. Moosman, Jr. 2008. Bats of Pisgah State Park, New Hampshire. Northeastern Naturalist 15:25-34.
7. Moosman, P. R., Jr., H. H. Thomas, and J. P. Veilleux. 2007. Food habits of eastern small-footed bats (Myotis leibii) in New Hampshire. American Midland Naturalist 158:354-360.
6. Moosman, D. L. and P. R. Moosman, Jr. 2006. Subcutaneous movements of visible implant elastomers in wood frogs (Rana sylvatica). Herpetological Review 37:300-301.
5. White, J. A., P. R. Moosman, Jr., C. H. Kilgore, and T. L. Best. 2006. First record of the eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus) from southern New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 51:420-422.
4. Moosman, D. L., and P. R. Moosman, Jr. 2005. Natural History Note: Bufo americanus, Rana catesbeiana, Microhabitat. Herpetological Review 36:298.
3. Moosman, P. R., Jr., D. L. Moosman, and J. C. Pillow. 2005. Geographic distribution. Ambystoma talpoideum (mole salamander). Herpetological Review 36:198.
2. Williams, M. I., R. D. Birkhead, P. R. Moosman, Jr., and S. M. Boback. 2004. Agkistrodon piscivorus (eastern cottonmouth) diet. Herpetological Review 35:271-272.
1. Palmer-Ball, B., Jr. and P. R. Moosman, Jr. 2002. Some notes from the 2001 breeding season. The Kentucky Warbler 78.
VMI is a unique and wonderful place to work. For me, the greatest attractions to teaching at VMI as opposed to some other college or university is the opportunity to interact with and mentor students outside of the classroom. These kinds of interactions had a profound influence on my life when I was a cadet. It is one of my greatest joys to be able to engage current cadets in similar types of experiences. Outside of my "day job", I have been blessed to serve in a couple roles.
Mentor in VMI Chapel Related Ministries. My wife (Deanne) and I take part in the VMI Chapel Fellowship and have served in a variety of roles since starting at VMI in 2008. In years past we took part in a weekday morning ministry each semester. However, more recently we have hosted evening and weekday bible studies. Because I came to faith while a cadet at VMI, I love being able to serve God and cadets in these ministries!
Triathlon Club. Deanne and I also served as coaches or assistant coaches of the VMI Triathlon Team from 2008-2012. This is one of many clubs organized by the Office of Cadet Life. The club is composed of cadets from a variety of backgrounds and levels of athletic experience, including those that are completely new to the sport (perhaps hoping to some day take part in their first Sprint distance triathlon), to those that have taken part in many triathlons (possibly including Half- or Full Ironman races).
Triathlon team upperclassmen and coach Deanne Moosman before an open water swim practice in Autumn of 2009