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Diversity 2018, 10(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030049

Distributional Patterns and Ecological Determinants of Bat Occurrence Inside Caves: A Broad Scale Meta-Analysis

1
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London EI 4NS, UK
2
Laboratório de Genética e Biodiversidade, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG) Campus II, Goiânia, MO 74001970, Brazil
3
Faculdade de Ciências da Educação e Saúde, Centro Universitário de Brasília, Brasília, DF 70790-075, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 13 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Abstract

Caves are important bat roosts worldwide that are used as shelters, maternity roosts, and to help in thermoregulation. Bat abundances, species richness, and association patterns inside caves can be affected by large-scale environmental variation. However, few studies have analyzed the effect of latitudinal and altitudinal variations on these patterns. Here, we conducted a large literature review about cave occupation by bats in Brazil. We investigated the effects of elevation and latitude on bat richness and abundance, the effect of Brazilian biomes on bats’ abundance and richness, the dependence between feeding guilds and biomes, and the effects of the number of studies conducted and the number of caves per region on bat species richness. A total of 72 studies with 9666 bats from 72 species were registered in 247 caves. We found that species richness increases toward the equator and reaches its limit at low and intermediate altitudes. Reported richness was influenced by the number of studies conducted in each region. Both latitude and elevation explained the variation in abundance and were significantly affected by biome type. The latitudinal and elevational gradient for species’ richness and abundance may be explained by the creation of stable thermal conditions in roosts at high elevations and low latitudes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chiroptera; latitude; altitude; species richness; diversity Chiroptera; latitude; altitude; species richness; diversity
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de Oliveira, H.F.M.; Oprea, M.; Dias, R.I. Distributional Patterns and Ecological Determinants of Bat Occurrence Inside Caves: A Broad Scale Meta-Analysis. Diversity 2018, 10, 49.

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