López-Baucells, A., Rocha, R. & Fernández-Llamazares, Á. (2018) When bats go viral: negative framings in virological research imperil bat conservation.Mammal Review, 48(1), 62-66. DOI:10.1111/mam.12110 (IF2018 4,706; Q1 Zoology)
The recent upsurge in bat‐borne virus research has attracted substantial news coverage worldwide. A systematic review of virological literature revealed that bats were described as a major concern for public health in half of all studies (51%), and that their key role in delivering ecosystem services was disregarded in almost all studies (96%). Although research on zoonoses is of the utmost importance, biased framings of bats can undermine decades of conservation efforts. We urge researchers and science communicators to consider the conservation impacts of how research findings are presented to the public carefully, and, whenever possible, to highlight the ecological significance of bats, their dire conservation situation and their importance for human well‐being.