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

Midwest Bat Hub Data Manager

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 Data Manger 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. 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.

Data Manager, Midwest Bat Hub, University of Illinois

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