Dr. Sophie “Topa” Petit

Dr. Sophie “Topa” Petit

Senior Lecturer
School of Natural and Built Environments
University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes SA 5095, Australia
Tel:  +61 8 8302 5194
Fax: +61 8 8302 5082
E-mail:  sophie.petit@unisa.edu.au
Web site:  http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/sophiepetit/index.asp

1989 B.Sc. in Agriculture (Animal Sciences), University of Kentucky, U.S.A.
Ph.D. in biology, 1995, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
D.E.S.S. in business administration, 1998, Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, Pau, France.

Publications relevant to Curaçao

  • Petit, S.  2007.  The importance of bats to Curaçao.  The Australasian Bat Society Newsletter 29: 13-14.
  • Petit, S., A. Rojer, and L. Pors. 2006.  Surveying bats for conservation: the status of cave-dwelling bats on Curaçao over ten years.  Animal Conservation 9: 207-217.
  • Petit, S. (2004).  The fabulous bat-identification machine.  In: Australian animals are smarter than Jack 2, Avocado Press Ltd., Ferntree Gully, Victoria, pp. 84-85.
  • Petit, S.  2001.  The reproductive phenology of three sympatric species of columnar cacti on Curaçao.  Journal of Arid Environments 49: 521-531.
  • Petit, S. 1999.  INVITED.  Réduire et raffiner dans l’observation de chiroptères sauvages.  Sciences et Techniques de l’Animal de Laboratoire 24: 121-124.
  • Petit, S. 1998.  The effectiveness of two bat species as pollinators of two species of columnar cacti on Curaçao.  Haseltonia 6: 22-31.
  • Petit, S. 1997.  The diet and reproductive schedules of Leptonycteris curasoae curasoae and Glossophaga longirostris elongata (Chiroptera:  Glossophaginae) on Curaçao.  Biotropica 29 (2): 214-223.
  • Petit, S. and C.E. Freeman. 1997.  Nectar production of two sympatric species of columnar cacti on Curaçao.  Biotropica 29 (2): 175-183.
  • Petit, S. 1996.  The status of bats on Curaçao.  Biological Conservation 77: 27-31.
  • Petit, S. 1996.  The bat-cactus mutualism of Curaçao.  Cactus and Succulent Journal 68 (3): 150-152.
  • Petit, S. and L. Pors. 1996.  Columnar cactus survey and carrying capacity for nectar-feeding bats on Curaçao.  Conservation Biology 10 (3): 769-775.
  • Petit, S. 1995.  The pollinators of two species of columnar cacti on Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles.  Biotropica 27 (4): 538-541.
  • Petit, S., L. Pors, M. Surrel, and J. Petit. 1995.  The capture of two nectar-feeding bat species with a harp trap.  Bat Research News 35 (2&3): 62.
  • Petit, S. 1993.  The native cacti of Curaçao.  Cactus and Succulent Journal 65 (5): 219-221.

General research interests
Ecology, wildlife ecology, plant/animal interactions, conservation biology, park management, sustainable agriculture, animal ethics.

Research interests on Curaçao

The work resulting from my Ph.D. project on the mutualism between bats and columnar cacti on Curaçao and conservation implications is continuing in association with CARMABI.

Bats are extremely important pollinators of columnar cacti, and in turn depend on them to a great extent for their diet.  In view of the significance of cacti to a diversity of wildlife and plant species, the mutualism between bats and cacti is fundamental to the health of Curaçao’ s natural ecosystems.

Unfortunately urban development, predation, and disease are affecting cactus populations to such an extent that the mutualism is at risk, including dependent species.  We are currently investigating the impacts of predation and disease, and keep promoting the conservation of cacti and bats, several species of which are threatened on the island.