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Van der Meij T.,Statistics Netherlands CBS | Van Strien A.J.,Statistics Netherlands CBS | Haysom K.A.,Bat Conservation Trust | Dekker J.,Dutch Mammal Society | And 16 more authors.
Mammalian Biology

Monitoring data on hibernating bats were aggregated for the first time across a number of European countries. These supranational trends revealed that nine out of 16 bat species examined increased at their hibernation sites in Europe between 1993 and 2011, while only one is decreasing. This is reflected in the positive trend shown by a prototype multispecies bat indicator which combined the individual species trends. Our findings suggest that after a period of strong decline in the 20th century, populations of most of the investigated bat species are stabilising or recovering, although with profound differences between European bio-geographical regions and countries. Bat populations in the Continental region have a less positive tendency, compared to those in the Atlantic region. More data from more countries may reveal whether these differences are systematical. So far, the prototype indicator covers 9 countries and 16 of the 45 bat species found in Europe. The next steps will be to refine the methodology behind the indicator and to improve the indicator's representation of European bat populations and its capacity to compare trends among biogeographic regions. This should be achieved by participation of more countries and incorporating data from additional bat species, including data collected by other surveillance methods, such as summer roost counts. Robust information on trends in bat populations at a range of geographic scales is essential to the long-term conservation of bats. Further development of this indicator will make an important contribution to conservation of bats because it will stimulate international cooperation and capacity building for monitoring and research, thus exchanging and broadening knowledge of the status of bats and improving the identification of threats. © 2014 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde. Source

Reiter G.,Austrian Coordination Center for Bat Conservation and Research | Polzer E.,Austrian Coordination Center for Bat Conservation and Research | Polzer E.,University of Graz | Mixanig H.,Austrian Coordination Center for Bat Conservation and Research | And 3 more authors.
Mammalian Biology

For habitat specialists, fragmentation has major consequences as it means less suitable habitat for the species to live in. In a fragmented landscape, we would expect larger, but spatially more clustered, foraging ranges. We studied the impact of landscape fragmentation on the foraging range and habitat exploitation of a specialised forest bat by radiotracking 16 female lesser horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros in a landscape with connected woodland structures and in a highly fragmented landscape in Carinthia, Austria. Contrary to our expectations, spatial foraging behaviour was not influenced by fragmentation. No differences in the behaviour of the bats between the sites were evident for the foraging ranges (minimum convex polygon, MCP), the core foraging areas (50% kernel), nor the mean or the maximum distances from the roost. However, in the highly fragmented landscape, the foraging activity of individuals was spatially more clustered and the overall MCP of all bats of a colony was greater compared to the less fragmented landscape. Woodland was the most important foraging habitat for the lesser horseshoe bats at both study sites. Habitat selection at the individual MCPs was evident only at the site with low fragmentation. However, in the core foraging areas, woodland was significantly selected over all other habitat types at both study sites. We conclude that (1) conservation measures for colonies of lesser horseshoe bats should be undertaken within 2.5. km of the nursery roost, (2) woodland is the key foraging habitat particularly in the vicinity of the roost, and (3) any loss of woodland near the colonial roosts are likely to negatively influence the colony, since these bats do not seem to be able to adapt their spatial foraging behaviour in a degraded landscape. The inflexible spatial behaviour of this specialised bat highlights the need to compensate for any habitat loss within the foraging range of a bat colony. © 2012 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde. Source

Uhrin M.,University of P.J. Safarik | Uhrin M.,Czech University of Life Sciences | Huttmeir U.,Austrian Coordination Center for Bat Conservation and Research | Kipson M.,Charles University | And 20 more authors.
Mammal Review

Savi's pipistrelle Hypsugo savii is a Mediterranean faunal element among the bats; it occurs in southern Europe, the Canary Islands, north-western Africa, most of the Mediterranean islands, in the northern part of the Middle East, in the Crimea, Caucasus, West Turkestan, and northern Afghanistan. The northern margin of its geographical range in Europe reaches the Pyrenees, Massif Central, southern Alps, Dalmatia, Balkan Mountains and southern Crimea, like that of other similar biogeographical elements. Since the 1990s, Hypsugo savii started to be found in inland areas of south-eastern Europe and in Central Europe as far northwards as in central Bohemia and southern Poland. These numerous new occurrences seem to be either 1) connected to environmental changes caused by the current climate change 2) evidence of an intrinsic expansion process powered by the species' synanthropic tendency, including passive human-mediated transport; or 3) a reflection of the increase in field survey efforts. Distributional data on Hypsugo savii from central and south-eastern parts of Europe were gathered and evaluated. We provide a detailed review of all records available by the end of 2013. The assessment of temporal distribution of the data clearly shows an ongoing and relatively fast expansion of Hypsugo savii from southern to Central Europe, which represents a shift of almost 800km northwards in the last 20-25 years. Most of the records (65%) originate from urban habitats. This suggests that the synanthropic habits of the species are the most plausible explanation for the northwards shift of the range limits of Hypsugo savii. © 2016 The Mammal Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Plank M.,University of Vienna | Plank M.,Austrian Coordination Center for Bat Conservation and Research | Fiedler K.,University of Vienna | Reiter G.,Austrian Coordination Center for Bat Conservation and Research
Journal of Zoology

Concurrent recordings of bat calls at the ground and canopy levels were compared to analyse the vertical stratification of habitat use in a broad-leaved deciduous forest in central Europe. The recording effort was 48 nights, by sampling 16 sites three times in 2010. Overall, 2170 call sequences were recorded; 40% of them at the canopy level. Sixteen bat species were identified, 13 of which occurred at ground level and 14 in the canopy. By fitting generalized linear mixed models for seven species and all calls sequences combined, the effects of stratum, time period, ambient temperature and forest structure on bat-calling activity were assessed. Four species preferred the ground level (Barbastella barbastellus, Eptesicus serotinus, Myotis daubentonii, Pipistrellus pygmaeus). M. bechsteinii was the only species which had a significant preference for the canopy level in the pregnancy, lactation and post-lactation period, whereas two further species (M. alcathoe, P. pipistrellus) showed a significant canopy preference in at least one period. Therefore, canopy sampling should be undertaken when aiming at monitoring such species for conservation purposes. Populations of certain target species will be underestimated by ground recordings alone. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Zoology © 2011 The Zoological Society of London. Source

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