Ralph Simon         

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Nice news feature in Scientific American on our recent Current Biology paper, where we show how gleaning bats use leaves as specular reflectors to find hidden insects.”


“Our research on the bat and pitcher plant mutualism and their sophisticated acoustic communication system via plant reflectors is featured in the new OUR PLANET documentary out now on Netflix! (Season 1, Espisode 3, Jungles; from 21,30 on)”




I‘m a biologist (Ph.D.) based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I’m interested in the evolutionary, physiological and physical constraints that shape animal orientation, communication and sensory experience. Thereby, it is paramount to work not only on a single stimuli level but to consider the full range of sensory channels and their interactions. Only in this way is it possible to fully understand an animal’s sensory world. For my studies I follow mainly a three-step approach: First, I aim to understand which modalities are involved in a study system, the next step is to reproduce the sensory information available to animals in biomimetic setups, and then it is important to experimentally test predictions in behavioural studies. With this approach I study echolocation behaviour of different bat species with a focus on nectar feeding bats and the acoustic adaptations of the plants they are pollinating. Apart from my fundamental research on sensory ecology, I also carry out applied science research in the area of bionics and bioinspired sonar sensing. Given my strong interest in the (sensory) ecology of bats, I have also dedicated several years to nature conservation research projects. At the moment, I’m involved in the ‘Seeing Voices Project’, where we try to disentangle the role of multimodal cues in vocal learning in birds.


Ralph with Bat


Dr. Ralph Simon

Postdoc – Ecological Sciences

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105

1081 HV Amsterdam

T +31 20 59 87492

e-mail: ralph.simon@vu.nl

orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6083-0394

researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ralph_Simon

twitter: https://twitter.com/RalSimon