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Violeta Zhelyazkova. Photo: (c) Boyan Petrov
Violeta Zhelyazkova. Photo: (c) Boyan Petrov

Violeta Zhelyazkova

(Associate, Member of the Bat Research and Conservation Centre)
(Member of the Bat Research and Conservation Centre)
phone: (+359 88) 5088895; e-mail:

Born on: 17 December 1987 in Sofia.

Education: Master of Science in Ecology, University of Sofia, Bulgaria, 2012; Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation Biology, University of Sofia, Bulgaria, 2010.

Research interests

Sensory ecology; distribution and ecology of bats; conservation biology; science communication.

Research experience

National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Bulgaria. Bat intern &38; specialist — 2008—current
University of Bristol, UK / African Bat Conservation, Malawi. Research assistant — 2014-2015
Siemers Bat Research Station in Bulgaria (SBRS), Max Plank Institute for Ornithology. Station manager — 2014
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Panama. Intern — 2013
University of Bern, Switzerland. Visiting scientist — 2013
Max Plank Institute for Ornithology, Sensory Ecology Group. Graduate student and field assistant — 2008—2012
Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, United States Geological Survey, USA. Internship — 2012

Public outreach representing the NMNH

Journal club of Life Science for graduate and postgraduate students, founder and coordinator — 2013—present
Public talks about the importance of bats and science in universities, schools, kindergartens, radio and TV programs in Bulgaria and abroad — 2009—present
International Bat Night in Bulgaria. UNEP/EUROBATS initiative. National and/or local coordinator — 2009—2013
'Seeing in the Dark' an international project raising awareness about the life of blind people. Funded by the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs. Assistant coordinator — 2013
Sofia Science Festival. British Council. Participant — 2014—2015
'Be a Bechstein’s Bat' theatre performances designed to raise public awareness on the importance of the forest dwelling bats. European Science Events Association. Scientific advisor, coordinator and participant — 2010—2011

Conference presentations

XV Student Conference on Conservation Science, Cambridge University, UK — 2014 — 'Bats — nightmare or night care?' — poster presentation
XVI International Bat Research Conference, San Jose, Costa Rica — 2013 — 'Is there something strange in the diet of Myotis myotis and Myotis blythii?' — poster presentation
XII European Bat Research Symposium, Vilnius, Lithuania — 2011 — 'What do South-east European mouse-eared bats eat?' — oral presentation
XI Anniversary International Scientific Conference 'Biology: Traditions and Challenges' — 2009 — University of Sofia, Bulgaria. 'Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of Osogovska Planina Mountain' — oral presentation
phone: (+359 88) 8432110; e-mail:

Born on: 8 January 1991 in Sofia.

Education: National Museum of Natural History — BAS, PhD student; Sofia Unversity 'St. Kliment Ohridski', MSc of 'Genetics and Genomics' and 'Algology and Mycology'; Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology.

Research interests

Biology of the cave fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, causer of white-nose syndrome of bats; biology of bats, population and conservation genetics, science communication, working with children.

Current projects

Genetic structure of populations of Pseudogymnoascus destructans in Europe
Monitoring of bat populations in Bulgaria
Teaching kids at vacation schools in the museum
Representing the museum at the Sofia Science Festival and other science-communication events
Organising a students’ Journal Club in the museum


Cave expedition 'Pu'va'va' Hawaii — 2015
National cave expedition 'Tenengebirge', Austria — 2014
National cave expedition 'Maya Arapit', Albania — 2009
International cave expedition in Ukraine — 2008
Numerous cave expeditions in Bulgaria


Zhelyazkova, V., Toshkova, N., Goranov, S., 2016. Bats and Caves. — In: Speleological Studies of Caves in Godech Municipality (Part 1), Association of Speleoclubs in Sofia, Sofia, 51—62. [PDF]

Toshkova, N., Zhelyazkova, V., 2016. Expedition Hawaii. — BBC Knowledge Bulgaria, vol. 72, 12/2015.

Toshkova, N., Zhelyazkova, V., 2016. Cave fungi. — In: Speleological Studies of Caves in Godech Municipality. Part 1. Sofia

Toshkova, N. L., Zhelyazkova, V. L., Puechmaille, S., Uzunov, B. A., Stoyneva-Gärtner, M. P., 2016. Review of the current status and future perspectives on Pseudogymnoascus destructans studies with reference to the species findings in Bulgaria. — Ann. Univ. Sof. 100 (2).

Petrov, B., Alexandrova, I., Karadakov, V., Georgieva, T., Toshkova, N., Zhelyazkova, V., 2014. Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in Ponor Special Protection Area (Natura 2000), Western Bulgaria: Species Diversity and Distribution. — Acta zoologica bulgarica, 65 (Suppl. 5): 117—128.

Zhelyazkova, V., Toshkova, N., 2011. A Story about a Museum and Something More... — Ecology, Biology and Biotechnology, 6/2011: 722—78.