Sophio Maglakelidze

Sophio Maglakelidze

Masaryk University
Brno, Czech Republic
Ph.D. Student



I am a novice bat researcher from Tbilisi, Georgia (Sakartvelo) and a first-year Ph.D. student at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. My Master’s thesis was about the DNA barcoding of small mammals in Georgia, which included bats, rodents, and insectivores. I joined an experienced and small group of scientists working on small mammals. My research aim was to create a DNA barcode library of small mammals and re-evaluate their diversity in Georgia. Within the frame of this work, I was able to detect two new species in Georgia and delve into the well-known genetic ambiguities of small mammals.

Georgia is part of two biodiversity hotspots. The flora and fauna are unique here, but the lack of knowledge and quality research is posing a threat to the biodiversity of this exceptional place. For my current Ph.D. research, I study how bats, cave characteristics, and the surrounding environment are associated with each other in Georgia. I have recently been awarded a 1st Rufford Small Grant, which is about conserving cave-dwelling bat communities in West Georgia. This project will clarify the species diversity, current condition, threats, and conservation needs. This assessment and activities to raise general awareness about bats and to educate local people via workshops and presentations will play an immense role in protecting vulnerable and near-threatened bat species in Georgia.

With the help of GBatNet, I would be able to widen my horizons and make strong connections all over the world. Ultimately, such interactions contribute not only to my professional development but also to the broader goals of advancing bat conservation on a global scale.