Our mission is to conduct and encourage research on bats, by collaborating with students and other scientists, and to make our findings available to the scientific community and the public through technical and popular publications, teaching, and outreach programs.


The Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation was established in September 2005 under the direction of Dr. John O. Whitaker, Jr. in the Biology Department of ISU. With the retirement of Dr. Whitaker in June 2012, directorship of the center was transferred to Dr. Joy O’Keefe. In March 2013, our name was changed to the Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation.

How You Can Help

Follow this link for more information on making a monetary donation to the ISU Bat Center. If you’d like to volunteer your time, please contact us via email at




Dr. Joy M. O’Keefe, Director

I am an Asjoypeoplesistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Indiana State University and the Director of the Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation. I conduct applied research on the ecology of forest bats, but also direct research on a variety of topics related to bats. My degrees in Zoology (B.S.), Biology (M.S.), and Wildlife and Fisheries Biology (Ph.D.) are from North Carolina State, Eastern Kentucky, and Clemson universities, respectively. Click here for more info.

Dr. John M. Whitaker, Jr., Director Emeriti


John O. Whitaker, Jr. obtained his BS and PhD (1962) degrees at Cornell University. He spent his entire professional career at Indiana State University and directed the ISU Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation from 2005 until his retirement in 2012. He has studied the mammals of Indiana for over 50 years, with particular emphasis on their ectoparasites, food habits, and bat biology. He is author of The Audubon Field Guide to Mammals, Mammals of the Eastern United States (with W. J. Hamilton, Jr.), Mammals of Indiana (with R. E. Mumford), Ectoparasites of Mammals of Indiana, Mammals of the Northeastern United States, Field Guide to Mammals of Indiana, several chapters in books, and over 350 scientific papers. He coauthored “Bats of Indiana,” the first in a series of state bat books for the general public produced by the ISU Bat Center.

Brianne Walters, Assistant Director

Brianne Walters is the Assistant Director for the Indiana State University Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation. She has worked for the ISU Bat Center since its inception in 2005.  She received her BS and Master’s degrees from Indiana State University. Her thesis focused on the foraging behavior of Eastern red bats near the Indianapolis International Airport. She currently conducts field work and coordinates research and contract projects for the ISU Bat Center. She organizes the annual Indiana Bat Festival which is aimed at educating the general public about bats and draws around 1000 people annually.

Research Associates

Steven Lima, Ph.D.

Joey Weber, M.Sc.

Graduate Students

Click Photos for Student Profiles

Elizabeth Beilke
PhD Student
James Cox, III
Master’s Student
Tim Divoll
PhD Candidate
Vanessa Rojas
PhD Candidate
Francis Tillman, Jr.
Master’s Student


Current Undergraduate Students
Reed Crawford
Aaron Ennen
Hannah Gearheart
Jace Kahle
Chris Mascari
Melissa Mitchell
Jarett Posz
Hailey Robinson
Gloria Skinner
Chloe Story
MaKayla Waggoner

Former Graduate Students
Robert Arndt, Ph.D. 2018
Scott Bergeson, Ph.D. 2017
Julia Hoeh, M.S. 2017
Caroline Byrne, M.S. 2015
Joey Pettit, Ph.D. 2015
Joey Weber, M.S. 2015
Lily Arias, Ph.D. 2014
Zach Kaiser, M.S.  2014
Kristina Hammond, M.S. 2013
Tara Thomson, M.S. 2013
Jenny Bodwell, M.S. 2012
Megan Caylor, M.S. 2012
Jason Damm, M.S. 2011
Nick Gikas, M.S. 2011
Nichole Oehler, M.S. 2011
Jared Helms, M.S. 2010
Jeremy Sheets, M.S. 2010
Justin Boyles, Ph.D. 2009
Christina Booher M.S. 2007
Daniel Judy, M.S. 2007
Amy (Fairbairn) Halsall, M.S. 2006
Brianne (Everson) Walters, M.S. 2005

Archived Group Photos

2014 Group Photo

Bat Center Group Photo 2013