About us


About us


Our Mission

The Midwest Bat Hub is one of several regional hubs in the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) that work within a long-term, continental program to monitor bat distributions and abundance. NABat aims to supply regular analyses and reporting on the status and trends of bat populations to inform managers and policymakers. The Midwest Bat Hub coordinates these efforts on a regional or local scale, bridging a top-down and bottom-up management approach. The Hub provides technical assistance and coordination to its partners and fosters information exchange and collaboration between existing regional efforts. The Midwest Bat Hub works to bolster bat conservation across the 8-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  

The Midwest Bat Hub Team

Joy O’Keefe

Director

Dr. Joy O’Keefe’s research primarily focuses on ways to facilitate the coexistence of bats and humans in human-altered landscapes. She works to understand the roosting and foraging ecology of bats, identify best practices for studying bat ecology, characterize bat behaviors, and assess the quality of mitigation practices designed to help bats. Dr. O’Keefe collaborates with many organizations and people who interact with bats, including private landowners, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, and state agencies.

Assistant Professor at University of Illinois

James Cox

Hub Coordinator

James Cox earned his Master of Science degree in biology at Indiana State University, under the guidance of Dr. Joy O’Keefe. His thesis focused on data collection and creating species distribution maps for 3 bat species in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. James operates as Hub Coordinator and Data Manager for the Midwest Bat Hub, focusing on processing data, maintaining and seeking new partnerships, and creating solutions to increase ease of access to the program. James also oversees the Midwest Bat Hub Volunteer Monitoring Program. Some of James’s scientific interests include species distribution modelling, computer programming, radio telemetry, and working in a GIS. In his spare time, James enjoys backpacking, gardening, carpentry, and playing live music.

Hub Coordinator/Data Manager/Volunteer Program Coordinator, Midwest Bat Hub, University of Illinois

Saket Naik

Computer Scientist

Saket Naik is from Mumbai, India. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in Information Management. He has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from VJTI Mumbai. His interest in data science and analytics started during his senior year in college, and since then, he has been fascinated by the field. After working for a year in the data analytics team at Capgemini, he decided to pursue his master’s to technically upskill himself. He’s passionate about developing impactful and effective solutions using data analytics. He is currently working for the Human-Wildlife Interactions lab, where he will help create optimized scripts and engaging dashboards for the Midwest Bat Hub species classification project. 

Computer Scientist, Midwest Bat Hub, University of Illinois

Isabella Hubrich

Undergraduate Student Worker

Isabella Hubrich is from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is completing a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental sustainability. Their interests also include natural resources and environmental sciences, geographic information systems, and Spanish. With the Midwest Bat Hub, they will be working with data collected by the Hub, in addition to updating and improving the Hub’s webpage.

Undergraduate Student Worker, Midwest Bat Hub, University of Illinois

Bryan Levi

Assistant Hub Coordinator

Bryan Levi is from Edison, New Jersey. He graduated with a bachelors in Environmental Science with a minor in biology from Eastern University in Pennsylvania, and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. He currently lives on campus at UIUC after moving here from Jersey in 2023. His career interests include conservation biology research, and he would eventually like to work with data to broadly support conservation goals. Outside of work and school, he likes to play the guitar, coach or play tennis, and enjoys doing martial arts.

Assistant Hub Coordinator, Midwest Bat Hub, University of Illinois