Research interests

  • Acoustic communication
  • Social behaviour
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Bats



Scientific projects

Saccopteryx bilineata is a common Neotropical bat that lives in stable groups of up to 60 individuals with harem like structures and peripheral males waiting for their turn to get access to females (Bradbury & Vehrencamp 1976). To maintain this complex social group structure the bats need an appropriated communication system (Freeberg et al. 2012).

S. bilineata has a huge vocal repertoire of social calls which is already well described: Starting from babblings bouts from pups (Knörnschild et al. 2006), to simple structured distress calls and screeches, stereotypical territorial songs and complex courtship songs from males (Behr & von Helversen 2004).

The goal of my thesis is to proof that those highly social animals and vocal learners are able to adapt their vocal repertoire and the associated behavior to particular situations and change it over time and geographical range. Therefore I investigate different vocalization types and the associated behavior of S. bilineata in three different locations in Central America (Curú National Wildlife Refuge and National Park Santa Rosa in Costa Rica, Barro Colorado Island in Panama).

In particular I search for local differences in the courtship songs and behavior of males, for seasonal changes (i.e. over the course of the mating season) of female screeches and their influence on the male courtship behavior and for differences in the responsiveness towards distress calls depending on the social context.


Book Chapter: Knörnschild M, Eckenweber M, Fernandez AA, Nagy M (2016) Sexually selected vocalizations of Neotropical bats. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-38953-0_8 In book: Sociality in bats, pp.179-195

Eckenweber M, Knörnschild M (2016) Responsiveness to conspecific distress calls is influenced by day-roost proximity in bats (Saccopteryx bilineata). Royal Society Open Science 3:160151.

Eckenweber M, Knörnschild M (2013) Social influences on territorial signaling in male greater-sac winged bats. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 67(4): 639–648.

Conference contributions

Eckenweber M, Knörnschild M (2015) Individual recognition in wild greater sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata). 25th International Bioacoustics Congress, Murnau, Germany (Poster Presentation)

Eckenweber M, Vittinghoff KV, Knörnschild M (2014) Social influences on the courtship behaviour of the male greater sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata. 7th European Conference on Behavioural Biology. Prague, Czech Republic (Oral Presentation)

Eckenweber M, Knörnschild M (2013) Individual and group signatures in territorial songs of male greater sac-winged bats. 43rd North American Society for Bat Research Conference y 16th International Bat Research Conference, San José, Costa Rica (Oral Presentation)

Eckenweber M, Knörnschild M (2012) Social influences on territorial signalling in male greater sac-winged bats. 6th European Conference on Behavioural Biology. Essen, Germany (Oral Presentation)


    Maria Eckenweber
    Institute of Evolutionary Ecology
    and Conservation Genomics
    University of Ulm
    Albert-Einstein-Allee 11
    89081 Ulm
    Tel: /
    Email: /