Special Issue "Diversity and Conservation of Bats"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 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

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

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.


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

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Community ecology and phylogeography of bats in the Guianan savannas of northern South America
Author: Burton K. Lim 1,* and Thomas E. Lee. Jr. 2
Affiliation: 1 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; burtonl@rom.on.ca
2 Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, USA; leet@acu.edu
Abstract: The Guiana Shield of South America contains one of the largest contiguous expanses of pristine tropical rainforest remaining in the world. Smaller tracts of savannas are also present, but its biodiversity is less known and studied. In lowland Neotropical areas, bats typically comprise the most species-rich group of mammals. We compare the bat faunal community and phylogeography in the savanna habitats of the Llanos in Venezuela, Rupununi in Guyana, and Sipaliwini in Suriname. Measures of species diversity and relative abundance from standardized field survey methodology enable comparison among these 3 grassland regions. Genetic variation is summarized by DNA barcoding to examine biogeographic patterns across larger forest-savanna landscapes. A total of 76 species of bats are documented, of which 18 species are reported from all 3 savannas and 30 species are reported from only 1 of the savannas. Endemism is low with 3 taxa restricted primarily to dry open habitats. However, 8 species have divergent phylogeographic lineages associated with savanna populations. Although bat species are usually distributed over wide regions of the Neotropics, the habitat mosaics of the Guiana Shield have different faunal assemblages. Going back into the Miocene, the contractions and expansions of paleoenvironments over time have contributed to speciation and the current high levels of biodiversity.

Title: Resource availability may not be a useful predictor of migratory bat fatalities or activity at wind turbine
Author: Dr. Victoria (Tory) J. Bennett
Abstract: A better understanding of the ultimate mechanisms driving bat fatalities at wind turbines could inform the development of more effective impact reduction strategies. One hypothesis is that bats come into close proximity with turbines as a result of existing resources (e.g., foraging or roosting sites) in the immediate area. Thus, if resource hotspots for bats could be identified during pre-construction surveys, then bat fatalities should be reduced by siting wind turbines away from such resource-rich areas. To explore this idea, we conducted a resource mapping exercise at an existing wind energy facility in north-central Texas. We mapped all known available resources for 6 bat species known to be in the area and then compared resource availability with fatalities and acoustic activity collected via mobile transects. Resource mapping identified concentrations of suitable resources for all 6 species. 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, ~40% of these fatalities occurred at wind turbines with no known resources within 200 m of the turbines, demonstrating that resource mapping could not effectively inform wind turbine siting for these two migratory tree bats. In contrast, despite variation among species, our results suggest that resource mapping may be effective for predicting fatalities of individual bats that spend the majority of the summer activity period in the area (i.e., residents). The challenge, therefore, remains to determine why migrating bats are coming into contact with wind turbines.

Title: Diversity in African horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae) – a phylogenetically informed analyses of phenotypic traits and evolutionary drivers
Authors: David S. Jacobs 1 and Anna Bastian 2
Affiliation: 1 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town;
2 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town;
Abstract: This article will be composed of two sections. The first will provide an updated phylogeny of African horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae). Since the last comprehensive phylogeny from 2015, several new species have been discovered and problematic species complexes described. Our phylogeny will be based on a substantially improved taxonomic coverage and attempts to resolve the evolutionary relationships in some of the problematic clades e.g. the capensis and fumigatus clades. The phylogenetic reconstruction will be based on several nuclear intron markers which have been shown to yield better supported species trees than traditionally used mitochondrial DNA. The phylogenetic information will then be used to inform the second section of the article. In this section we will investigate the processes responsible for phenotypic diversity within African horseshoe bats. Our data consists of phenotypic and genetic data for each individual and allows precise phylogenetically informed comparative analyses of species diversity. We will particularly focus on variation in traits that are fundamental to the evolution of these animals including echolocation, wing shape, skull shape, and body size. We will entertain processes such as selection, drift, evolutionary arms races, competition, biological constraints and evolutionary trade-offs. Although much of this will rely on the analyses of new data we will also incorporate a review of the current literature.
Keywords: Rhinolophus, Phylogeny, Introns, Phylogenetic comparative methods, Echolocation, Wing shape, Skull shape, Allometry

Title: Bats in the buildings of cultural heritage – UNESCO heaven or hell? – Cases from Slovenia (Europe)
Author: Primož Presetnik
Abstract: Two quarters of the 30 bat species resident in Slovenia have been found in the buildings of cultural heritage. The paper will present the situation based of survey of over 1.000 such buildings and estimate the importance of bat roost in buildings for regional distribution and survival of particular species. Based on 10 year monitoring program the paper will also focus on conservation issues arising from the bats using the cultural building heritage sites. Beside legal framework, some particular cases of conservation measures will be highlighted.
Contribution will end with the estimation current constrains and further challenges for long term protection and peaceful cohabitation of human, cultural heritage and bats.

Title: Bat activity above 3000 m in the Austrian Alps, Europe.
Author: Karin Widerin, Guido Reiter
Keywords: Chiroptera, National Park Hohe Tauern, Austria, high altitude, climatic conditions
Abstract: Recent studies in the Alps focussed on the presence and activity of bats at high
altitudes. A rather surprising result was a large number of bats crossing the Alps up to an
altitude of 2500 m.a.s.l.. Moreover, at some locations a comparatively high bat activity was
noticeable. The aim of this study was to take the next step: to investigate bat activity at an
altitude above 3000 m.a.s.l.. Extreme weather conditions, glaciers and rocks characterize the
investigated site and hence, this habitat seemed totally unsuitable for bats.
The study site was located on top of the Hoher Sonnblick at 3106 m.a.s.l. This mountain is
situated in the South of the province of Salzburg and is part of the main Alpine Arch. We
monitored bat activity during September and October 2014 and permanently from March to
November 2015 with an automated recording device (batcorder, ecoObs, Nuremberg).
Contrary to our expectations we found bat activity from mid-April to mid-September.
However, periods of bat activity were shorter compared to lower altitudes and interrupted by
long periods without bat activity.
Among the recorded species were all long-distance migrants in Europe, namely Nyctalus
leisleri, Nyctalus noctula, Pipistrellus nathusii and Vespertilio murinus. Eptesicus nilssonii, a
sedentary species was also recorded on the mountain top as well as Pipistrellus pygmaeus.
Bat activity was linked to milder weather conditions, but activity was still found at relatively
high wind speeds up to 11.2 m/s and temperatures as low as -2.1°C.

Type of the paper: Article
Tentative title: Land manager's perspectives on mitigation strategies for human-flying-fox conflict at urban camps
Authors: Kaye Currey (1), Dave Kendal (2), Rodney van der Ree (1,3), Pia E. Lentini (1)
Affiliations: 1 School of Biosciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010, Australia
2 School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010, Australia
3 Ecology and Infrastructure International, PO Box 6031, Wantirna VIC 3152, Australia
Abstract: Human-wildlife conflict is a significant issue in many parts of the world due primarily to increased competition for space and resources as the human population expands. In Australia, significant habitat loss is thought to have caused flying-foxes (Pteropodidae) to increasingly utilise resources in urban areas. Urban roost sites (camps) vary significantly in size, ranging from a few hundred to many thousands of individuals, and the noise, smell, mess and fear of disease risk associated with flying-fox camps can often result in conflict between the needs and wants of the local communities and those of the flyingfoxes. Land managers have been using a range of management approaches in attempts to mitigate some of the tension caused by flying-fox camps. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to synthesise knowledge from land managers to determine the relative cost and effectiveness of management strategies, as well as the issues / constraints surrounding decision-making and implementation of those strategies. Some important findings are that: i) vocal minorities and community expectations are potentially having an important influence on management decisions, ii) creation of buffers (primarily via vegetation modification) is the most common management strategy currently in use, and is considered to be moderately effective in mitigating conflict, and iii) community education is potentially an important tool in mitigating conflict yet is often being under-utilised by councils. As well as helping inform future
decisions by flying-fox camp managers, this study highlights the importance of considering the human dimensions of human-wildlife conflict in mitigation strategies.

Type of the paper: Article
Tentative title: Ecuadorian bats: taxonomy challenges and conservation efforts
Authors: Santiago F. Burneo, Ma. Alejandra Camacho
Affiliation: Museo de Zoología, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. Programa para la Conservación de los Murciélagos del Ecuador
Abstract: Bat conservation is challenging, specially when local government support is required. The activities that the Ecuadorian Bat Conservation Program (PCME) have developed since 2011 are presenting very optimistic results since the publication, in 2015, of the Ecuadorian Bat Conservation Action Plan, a working document developed with the Ministry of Environment. The present paper explains the main aspects of the Action Plan and some of the research, education, and conservation activities that have already been developed under the document guidelines. Several Important Bat Conservation Areas or Sites have been identified and declared under the Latin American and the Caribbean Bat Conservation Network rules, some endangered species have been studied with enough data to modify favorably their conservation category, taxonomic research with several species of Ecuadorian bats has been carried out to better define the country’s diversity, and some agreements have been reached with productive actors of society that would benefit not only the conservation of bat populations, but also the geographic areas where they are distributed and the environmental services they provide.

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