Special Issue "Diversity and Conservation of Bats"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Tigga Kingston

Texas Tech University, Department of Biological Sciences, Lubbock, Texas, United States
Co-Chair (Old World), IUCN Species Survival Commission, Bat Specialist Group
Website | E-Mail
Interests: bat ecology and conservation; palaeotropical bats; conservation ecology; conservation psychology; microbiome community ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With nearly 1400 species, bats are a key component of global and local mammalian biodiversity. However, anthropogenic activities threaten populations worldwide, with consequences for species survival and the ecological and economic services that bats provide. Effective bat conservation hinges on adoption of multifaceted approaches, both as a research community and as conservation practitioners. This Special Issue provides a platform to highlight new research that contributes to this by addressing: i) the diversity and distribution of bats; ii) the effect of human activities (e.g., landuse change, hunting, roost disturbance, climate change) on bat behavior, populations, diversity, distributions, or ecosystem function; iii) drivers of human activities that threaten bats (e.g., attitudes, knowledge, perceptions, economics); and iv) conservation applications, particularly those that evaluate evidence of success.

Prof. Dr. Tigga Kingston
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Bats
  • Anthropogenic disturbance
  • Human modified landscapes
  • Overexploitation
  • Human dimensions of wildlife
  • Conservation psychology
  • Conservation applications

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Predicting Extinction Risk for Data Deficient Bats
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030063
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract
Conservation biology aims to identify species most at risk of extinction and to understand factors that forecast species vulnerability. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List is a leading source for extinction risk data of species globally, however, many potentially
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Conservation biology aims to identify species most at risk of extinction and to understand factors that forecast species vulnerability. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List is a leading source for extinction risk data of species globally, however, many potentially at risk species are not assessed by the IUCN owing to inadequate data. Of the approximately 1150 bat species (Chiroptera) recognized by the IUCN, 17 percent are categorized as Data Deficient. Here, we show that large trait databases in combination with a comprehensive phylogeny can identify which traits are important for assessing extinction risk in bats. Using phylogenetic logistic regressions, we show that geographic range and island endemism are the strongest correlates of binary extinction risk. We also show that simulations using two models that trade-off between data complexity and data coverage provide similar estimates of extinction risk for species that have received a Red List assessment. We then use our model parameters to provide quantitative predictions of extinction risk for 60 species that have not received risk assessments by the IUCN. Our model suggests that at least 20 bat species should be treated as threatened by extinction. In combination with expert knowledge, our results can be used as a quick, first-pass prioritization for conservation action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Open AccessArticle Assemblage and Species Threshold Responses to Environmental and Disturbance Gradients Shape Bat Diversity in Disturbed Cave Landscapes
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030055
Received: 29 April 2018 / Revised: 18 June 2018 / Accepted: 29 June 2018 / Published: 4 July 2018
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Abstract
Ecological thresholds represent a critical tipping point along an environmental gradient that, once breached, can have irreversible consequences for species persistence and assemblage structure. Thresholds can also be used to identify species with the greatest sensitivity to environmental changes. Bats are keystone species
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Ecological thresholds represent a critical tipping point along an environmental gradient that, once breached, can have irreversible consequences for species persistence and assemblage structure. Thresholds can also be used to identify species with the greatest sensitivity to environmental changes. Bats are keystone species yet are under pressure from human disturbances, specifically landscape and cave disturbances (i.e., reduced forest cover, urbanization, hunting, tourism). We compared bat assemblages across environmental and disturbance gradients measured at 56 caves in the Philippines to identify species-specific thresholds and assess congruence among species responses. All species exhibited significant responses to one or more gradients, with 84% responding to more than one gradient. Yet mixed responses of sensitivity to some gradients but tolerance to others hindered identification of assemblage thresholds to all gradients except landscape disturbance. However, we identified credible indicator species that exhibit distinct thresholds to specific gradients and tested for differences in ecological and morphological traits between species groups with shared responses (i.e., negative or positive). Few traits were useful for discriminating the direction of a species response, with some exceptions. Species that responded positively to increased landscape disturbance and hunting had greater body mass, whereas species that responded negatively to mining emitted higher peak call frequencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Open AccessArticle Does Thinning Homogenous and Dense Regrowth Benefit Bats? Radio-Tracking, Ultrasonic Detection and Trapping
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020045
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 2 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
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Abstract
Renewal ecology promotes the creation and enhancement of landscapes that support biodiversity and ecosystem services for humans. Silvicultural thinning of forest regrowth to reduce tree competition represents a form of active management that may also benefit biodiversity, especially where secondary regrowth dominates. However,
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Renewal ecology promotes the creation and enhancement of landscapes that support biodiversity and ecosystem services for humans. Silvicultural thinning of forest regrowth to reduce tree competition represents a form of active management that may also benefit biodiversity, especially where secondary regrowth dominates. However, ecological responses to thinning can be complex, particularly for insectivorous bats whose ecomorphology is often related to vegetation structure. Furthermore, thinning may affect multiple aspects of bat ecology (i.e., roosting and foraging). We assessed this in dense white cypress regrowth in the Pilliga forests of New South Wales, Australia, where recent experimental thinning created thinned stands (4 × 12 ha) surrounded by unthinned regrowth. We contrasted flight activity and roost selection of three narrow-space species with differing conservation statuses (Nyctophilus corbeni, N. gouldi and N. geoffroyi), plus one edge-space species (Vespadelus vulturnus). Radio-tracking over two maternity seasons revealed a preference by all species for roosting in dead trees that were slightly larger than the mean for available dead trees in the vicinity. Although all tagged bats were caught in thinned patches, only 6% of roosts were located there. In contrast, ultrasonic detectors recorded significantly greater activity for V. vulturnus (p = 0.05) in thinned than unthinned patches and no treatment difference for Nyctophilus spp. Systematic trapping using acoustic lures found a higher trap rate for N. gouldi in unthinned than thinned treatments, but no treatment effect for N. corbeni, N. geoffroyi and V. vulturnus. Our results reveal differential use of forest treatments by multiple species, emphasising the value of heterogeneous landscapes supporting thinned and unthinned patches of dense regrowth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Open AccessArticle Resource Availability May Not Be a Useful Predictor of Migratory Bat Fatalities or Activity at Wind Turbines
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020044
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
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Abstract
A better understanding of the ultimate mechanisms driving bat fatalities at wind turbines (i.e., the reason why bats are coming in close proximity to wind turbines) could inform more effective impact reduction strategies. One hypothesis is that bats come into close proximity to
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A better understanding of the ultimate mechanisms driving bat fatalities at wind turbines (i.e., the reason why bats are coming in close proximity to wind turbines) could inform more effective impact reduction strategies. One hypothesis is that bats come into close proximity to turbines due to existing resources (e.g., roosting sites) in the immediate area. Thus, if resource hotspots for bats could be identified in areas proposed for wind energy development, then fatalities could be reduced by siting turbines away from such hotspots. To explore this, we conducted a resource mapping exercise at a 48 km2 wind energy facility in north-central Texas. We mapped known resources (such as water sources, roosting sites, foraging sites, and commuting routes) for the 6 bat species present and compared resource availability with observed fatalities and acoustic activity. Although resource mapping identified concentrations of known resources for all species, it did not predict bat activity or fatalities. For example, Lasiurus cinereus and Lasiurus borealis comprised >90% of the fatalities, yet we found no positive relationship between resource availability and fatalities or acoustic activity for either species. Furthermore, up to 33% of these fatalities occurred at turbines without known resources within 200 m of the turbines, demonstrating that the fine-scale distribution of resources may not effectively inform turbine siting for these two migratory species. The challenge, therefore, remains to determine why bats during the migratory season are coming in close proximity with wind turbines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Open AccessArticle Diversity and Conservation of Cave-Dwelling Bats in the Brunca Region of Costa Rica
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020043
Received: 10 April 2018 / Revised: 27 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 2 June 2018
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Abstract
The Brunca region in Costa Rica contains the largest number of caves in the country, yet the diversity and distribution of bat species within those caves is currently unknown. Without this information, it is not possible to assess changes in populations and assemblages
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The Brunca region in Costa Rica contains the largest number of caves in the country, yet the diversity and distribution of bat species within those caves is currently unknown. Without this information, it is not possible to assess changes in populations and assemblages that may indicate severe damages to these critical roosting habitats, and to take evidence-based conservation actions. We present the first study to describe the diversity of cave-dwelling bat species in the Brunca region of Costa Rica in a large number of caves. We collected data of bat species diversity by direct observation and capturing bats inside roosts. Bats were observed in 38 of the 44 surveyed caves, representing 20 species from 4 families, with colony sizes ranging from a few individuals to >7500. In addition, we collected information about the human activities carried out in and around the roosts to assess potential threats that these sites face. Data indicate that caves suffer mostly from unregulated tourist visitation and that one of the most visited caves is also the one with the most species-rich bat assemblages. Our study determined the most important and vulnerable bat roosts in the region and shows the need for urgent conservation actions to protect them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Habitat Structure, Plant Cover, and Successional Stage on the Bat Assemblage of a Tropical Dry Forest at Different Spatial Scales
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020041
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 19 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 30 May 2018
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Abstract
Bats play a fundamental role in ecosystem functioning since they are responsible for several ecological services such as seed dispersal and pollination. Therefore, assessing the effects of habitat structure at different scales on the bat assemblage is extremely important for supporting conservation strategies.
[...] Read more.
Bats play a fundamental role in ecosystem functioning since they are responsible for several ecological services such as seed dispersal and pollination. Therefore, assessing the effects of habitat structure at different scales on the bat assemblage is extremely important for supporting conservation strategies. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of habitat structure at multiple spatial scales on the bat assemblages and their variation along a gradient of secondary succession in a Brazilian tropical dry forest. Our results suggest that bat abundance is higher in areas close to mature forests, which shows the important role of those habitats as refuges for the regional bat fauna (in a fragmented landscape) and for the maintenance of ecosystem services provided by this group in tropical dry forests in a landscape context. In addition, bat abundance was lower in protected areas whose surroundings were better preserved (greater forest extension). This unexpected finding could result from an altered behavior in areas under a strong influence of a fruit crop matrix. Finally, we showed that the effects of the surroundings depend on the successional stage of the area under analysis. Late forests are more susceptible to variations in the forest cover in their surroundings, which show the higher fragility of these environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Open AccessArticle Land Manager Perspectives on Conflict Mitigation Strategies for Urban Flying-Fox Camps
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020039
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 24 May 2018
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Abstract
Over the last 20 years, there has been a notable increase in the presence of flying-foxes (Pteropodidae) in urban areas in Australia. Flying-foxes congregate during the day in camps which at times may contain many thousands of individuals. The associated noise,
[...] Read more.
Over the last 20 years, there has been a notable increase in the presence of flying-foxes (Pteropodidae) in urban areas in Australia. Flying-foxes congregate during the day in camps which at times may contain many thousands of individuals. The associated noise, smell, mess and concerns about disease transmission can result in significant conflict with local communities. Managers of flying-fox camps use a range of management approaches to mitigate tensions, but the success or otherwise of these has been largely undocumented. Land managers were surveyed to determine the relative cost and perceived effectiveness of mitigation strategies using semi-structured interviews and an online questionnaire. We found that five actions were commonly used to manage flying-foxes: (1) stakeholder education, (2) the creation of buffers between camps and adjacent residents via vegetation removal or (3) the creation of buffers via deterrents, (4) dispersal of flying-foxes via disturbance, and (5) dispersal of flying-foxes via vegetation removal. Perceptions of effectiveness varied considerably among managers. Overall, the creation of buffers via vegetation removal was considered the most effective action, and stakeholder education was perceived to be the least effective. Dispersal via disturbance was also considered effective at reducing complaints and improving amenity, but not particularly effective overall likely due to the often short-term relief provided to residents before camps were recolonised. It was evident that the actions taken by managers and their perceived effectiveness were influenced by the attitudes of the community. This highlights the importance of considering the human dimensions of human-wildlife conflict in mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Open AccessArticle Restoration of Legacy Trees as Roosting Habitat for Myotis Bats in Eastern North American Forests
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020029
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 28 April 2018
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Abstract
Most eastern North American Myotis roost in forests during summer, with species forming maternity populations, or colonies, in cavities or crevices or beneath the bark of trees. In winter, these bats hibernate in caves and are experiencing overwinter mortalities due to infection from
[...] Read more.
Most eastern North American Myotis roost in forests during summer, with species forming maternity populations, or colonies, in cavities or crevices or beneath the bark of trees. In winter, these bats hibernate in caves and are experiencing overwinter mortalities due to infection from the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which causes white-nose syndrome (WNS). Population recovery of WNS-affected species is constrained by the ability of survivors to locate habitats suitable for rearing pups in summer. Forests in eastern North America have been severely altered by deforestation, land-use change, fragmentation and inadvertent introduction of exotic insect pests, resulting in shifts in tree distributions and loss of large-diameter canopy-dominant trees. This paper explores patterns in use of tree roosts by species of Myotis across Canada and the United States using meta-data from published sources. Myotis in western Canada, the Northwest, and Southwest selected the largest diameter roost trees and also supported the largest maximum exit counts. Myotis lucifugus, M. septentrionalis and M. sodalis, three species that inhabit eastern forests and which are currently experiencing region-wide mortalities because of WNS, selected roosts with the smallest average diameters. Recovery efforts for bark- and cavity-roosting Myotis in eastern North American forests could benefit from management that provides for large-diameter trees that offer more temporally-stable structures for roosting during the summer maternity season. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of a Large Lake on the Winter Range of a Small Mammal: Lake Michigan and the Silver-Haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020024
Received: 11 March 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 14 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
We examine factors affecting the winter range limit of a migrating mammal, the silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans), in states surrounding Lake Michigan, the fourth largest freshwater lake in the world. Using 555 citizen-based captures gathered between 1977 and 2016, we show
[...] Read more.
We examine factors affecting the winter range limit of a migrating mammal, the silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans), in states surrounding Lake Michigan, the fourth largest freshwater lake in the world. Using 555 citizen-based captures gathered between 1977 and 2016, we show that silver-haired bats overwinter (December–February) as far north as the 45th parallel, in areas roughly demarcated by the −12.2 °C (10 °F) mean daily minimum isotherm for January. Although summering populations adjacent to the lake are dominated by males, wintering animals are predominantly female and presumably migrants from north of Lake Superior. Logistic regression suggests that silver-haired bats are more likely to overwinter in warm areas, in counties near the lake, in urbanized locales, and on the west side of the lake. We believe that these small-bodied, solitary bats are hibernating in buildings and that use of human-made structures has allowed the silver-haired bat to overwinter in regions that are devoid of mines, caves and rock crevices and that are too cold for successful hibernation in trees. Lake Michigan impacts where this animal overwinters, presumably through the moderating influence of the lake on multiple aspects of the surrounding climate and because the shoreline likely is a major migratory pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Distributional Patterns and Ecological Determinants of Bat Occurrence Inside Caves: A Broad Scale Meta-Analysis
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030049
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 13 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
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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
[...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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