About us

About us

Our mission

The Midwest Bat Hub is one of several Hubs in the NABat project, which aims to develop a long-term, continental program to monitor bat distributions and abundance. NABat aims to provide regular analyses and reporting on the status and trends of bat populations to inform managers and policymakers. The Midwest Bat Hub will coordinate these efforts on a smaller scale, bridging a top-down and bottom-up management approach. The Midwest Bat Hub and its partners aim to join conservation efforts on bat species in the Midwest region, from Minnesota to Missouri to Ohio.


  • Develop a long-term program to monitor bat distributions and abundance
  • Provide regular analyses and reporting on the status and trends of bat populations to inform managers and policymakers


  • Coordinate with partners to monitor bats across the Midwest
  • Provide technical and logistical support to partners
  • Model habitat associations, population trends, & spatiotemporal patterns

The Midwest Bat Hub Team

Joy O’Keefe

Midwest Bat Hub Director

Dr. Joy O’Keefes’ 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

NABat Technical Monitoring Liaison

A native Hoosier, James Cox earned his masters of science 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 is currently a technical monitoring liaison with the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat), focused on processing data, maintaining and seeking new data partnerships, and creating solutions to increase ease of access to the program. Some of James’s general interests include species distribution modeling, radio telemetry, and working in a GIS.

USGS Contractor


Louis Hunninck

Midwest Bat Hub Coordinator

Louis is originally from the land of beer and chocolate: Belgium, where he completed his BSc in Biology at Ghent University. After completing his MSc in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, he took his PhD at the same university studying how anthropogenic and environmental disturbances affect physiological and nutritional stress, and behavior in impala in the Serengeti ecosystem. Some general interests of Louis are behavioral ecology, occupancy modelling, and conservation physiology. As part of the NABat program, Louis’s postdoc project will aim to collate data for the Midwestern NABat hub, and analyze distribution and migration patterns of several bat species.

Postdoc at University of Illinois


Emma Weber

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma Weber was born and raised in Illinois. Originally from the small town of Rantoul, she became fascinated in the life sciences and took every science class she possibly could. Currently, she is taking a Bachelor’s at NRES from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and will graduate in May 2021. Emma is a research assistant with the Midwestern NABat hub, and will oversee stakeholder engagement, data collection, and contribute to research on distribution occupancy models of several bat species. Her hobbies include going to concerts, bird watching, and raising chickens with her family.