University of Calgary

Robert Barclay

  • Professor
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • +1 (403) 220-3564

Research Interests

The research in my lab focuses on the behavioural and physiological ecology of mammals and birds. We are particularly interested in the relationships among roosting and foraging behaviour, thermoregulation, reproduction and life histories of bats. The ability to use torpor provides bats with a means of saving energy, but torpor is detrimental to offspring growth and avoidance of predators. We are thus investigating how bats select roosts to balance predation risk and thermoregulatory benefits. As suitable roosts may limit the distribution of bats, we are also using DNA techniques to determine the landscape-scale patterns of movement among populations.

We also study the effects of various types of disturbance on bats. For example, we are investigating the causes and consequences of migratory-bat fatalities at wind energy facilities, and the impact of urbanization on prairie bats. In the Yukon, we are studying how bats cope with short seasons, low temperatures and short nights, and how logging, fire and bark-beetle infestations influence habitat selection.

Graduate Students

Black, Sandra PhD Climate change and narwhals
Sims, Lisa MSc Effect of hurricane Maria on the bat community of Dominica


Low, Erin MSc The effect of forest fire in Waterton Lakes National Park on bats


Micalizzi, Emma MSc Roost selection by little brown bats in the Rocky Mountains


Monteiro, Thiago MSc Ecology of bats in the Rocky Mountains



2016 -  U Make a Difference
2014 - SU Teaching Excellence Award
2011 - SU Teaching Excellence Awards

2007 - Faculty of Science Public Outreach Award  
2005 - Faculty of Graduate Studies Award for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Supervision
2004 - Canadian Society of Zoologists' Public Awareness of Science Award
2002 - Gerrit S. Miller Award for Contributions to the Study of Chiropteran Biology

Selected Publications

  • Google Scholar Link
  • Barclay, R.M.R., D.S., C.T. Harding, A.E. McKechnie, S.D. McCulloch, W. Markotter, J. Paweska, and R.M. Brigham. 2017. Thermoregulation by captive and free-ranging Egyptian rousette bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) in South Africa.  Journal of Mammalogy  98: 572–578.
  • Frick, W.F., E.F. Baerwald, J.F. Pollock, R.M.R. Barclay, J.A. Szymanski, T.J.Weller, A.L. Russell, S.C. Loeb, R.A. Medellin, L.P. McGuire. 2017. Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat. Biological Conservation 209: 172–177.
  • Godwin, C.M., J.E.G. Smits, and R.M.R. Barclay. 2016. Metals and metalloids in nestling tree swallows and their dietary items near oilsands mine operations in Northern Alberta. Science of The Total Environment. 562: 714–723.
  • Luszcz, T.M.J. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2016. Influence of forest composition and age on habitat use by bats in southwestern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 2016, 94: 145-153.
  • Baerwald, E.F. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2016. Are migratory behaviours of bats socially transmitted?  Royal Society Open Science. 3: 150658.
  • Clare et al. 2013. The diet of Myotis lucifugus across Canada: assessing foraging quality and diet variability. Molecular Ecology.
  • Coleman, J.L. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2013. Prey availability and foraging activity of grassland bats in relation to urbanization. Journal of Mammalogy 94: 1111-1122.
  • Klug, B.J. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2013. Thermoregulation during reproduction in the solitary, foliage-roosting hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus). Journal of Mammalogy 94:477-487.
  • Arnett, E., R.M.R. Barclay and C.D. Hein. 2013. Thresholds for bats killed by wind turbines. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 11: 171.
  • Olson, C.R. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2013. Concurrent changes in group size and roost use by reproductive female little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). Canadian Journal of Zoology. 91:149–155.
  • Barclay, RMR. 2012. Variable variation: annual and seasonal changes in offspring sex ratio in a bat. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36344
  • Randall L.A,. Barclay R.M.R., Reid M.L., Jung T.S. 2011. Recent infestation of forest stands by spruce beetles does not predict habitat use by little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) in southwestern Yukon, Canada. Forest Ecology and Management doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2011.02.021
  • Brandon J. Klug, Amy S. Turmelle, James A. Ellison, Erin F. Baerwald, and Robert M. R. Barclay (2011) Rabies prevalence in migratory tree-bats in Alberta and the influence of roosting ecology and sampling method on reported prevalence of rabies in bats. J. of Wildlife Diseases. 47. 64-77.
  • Reimer, J.P., E.F. Baerwald and R.M.R. Barclay. 2010. Diet of hoary (Lasiurus cinereus) and silver-haired (Lasionycteris noctivagans) bats while migrating through Southwestern Alberta in late Summer and Autumn. American Midland Naturalist 164: 230-237.
  • Baerwald, E.F. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2009. Geographic variation in activity and fatality of migratory bats at wind energy facilities. Journal of Mammalogy. 90: 1341-1349.
  • Baerwald, E.F., J. Edworthy, M. Holder, and R.M.R. Barclay. 2009. A large-scale mitigation experiment to reduce bat fatalities at wind energy facilities. Journal of Wildlife Management 73: 1077-1081.
  • Cryan, P.M. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2009. Causes of bat fatalities at wind turbines: Hypotheses and predictions. Journal of Mammalogy. 90: 1330-1340. 
    Jacobs, D.S. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2009. Niche differentiation in two sympatric sibling bat species, Scotophilus Dinganii and Scotophilus Mhlanganii. Journal of Mammalogy. 90: 879-887. 
  • Baerwald, E.F., G.H. D'Amours, B.J. Klug and R.M.R. Barclay. 2008. Barotrauma is a significant cause of bat fatalities at wind turbines. Current Biology.  18: R695-696.
  • Lausen, C.L., Delisle, I., Barclay, R.M.R., Strobeck, C. 2008. Beyond mtDNA: nuclear gene flow suggests taxonomic oversplitting in the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus). Canadian Journal of Zoology. 86: 700-713.
  • Barclay, R.M.R., E.F Baerwald, and J.C. Gruver. 2007. Variation of bird and bat fatalities at wind energy facilities: assessing the effects of rotor size and tower height. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 85:381-387 
  • Jacobs, D.S., R.M.R. Barclay, and M.H. Walker. 2007. The allometry of echolocation call frequencies of insectivorous bats: why do some species deviate from the pattern? Oecologia.
  • Lausen, C.L. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2006. Benefits of living in a building: big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) in rocks versus buildings. Journal of Mammalogy. 87:362-370. 
  • Solick, D.I. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2006. Morphological differences among western long-eared bat (Myotis evotis) populations in different environments.. Journal of Mammalogy. 87: 1020-1026. 
  • Solick, D.I. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2006. Thermoregulation and roosting behaviour of reproductive and non-reproductive female western long-eared bats (Myotis evotis) in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta.Canadian Journal of Zoology. 84:589-599.
  • Camaclang, A.E., L.M. Hollis, and R.M.R. Barclay. 2006. Variation in body temperature and the isolation calls of juvenile big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus): consequences for individual recognition. Animal Behaviour. 71: 657-662.
  • Proctor, M.F., B.N. McLellan, C. Strobeck and R.M.R. Barclay. 2005. Genetic analysis reveals demographic fragmentation of grizzly bears yielding vulnerably small populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B. 272:2409-2416.
  • Proctor, M. F., B. N. McLellan, C. Strobeck and R.M.R. Barclay. 2004. Gender-specific dispersal distances of grizzly bears estimated from genetic analysis. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 82: 1108-1118.
  • Barclay, R. M. R., et al. 2004. Variation in the reproductive rate of bats. Can. J. Zool. 82. 688-693 
  • Chruszcz, B.J. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2003. Prolonged foraging bouts of a solitary gleaning/hawking bat, Myotis evotis. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 81: 823-826. 
  • Lausen, C. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2003. Thermoregulation and roost selection by reproductive female big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) roosting in rock crevices. J. Zool London 260, 235-244 
  • Patriquin, K. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2003. Foraging of bats in cleared, thinned and unharvested boreal forest. Journal of Applied Ecology. 40:646-647.


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