Estimating density of forest bats and their long‐term trends in a climate refuge.

Item request has been placed! ×
Item request cannot be made. ×
loading   Processing Request
  • Additional Information
    • Abstract:
      For many species, estimating density is challenging, but it is important for conservation planning and understanding the functional role of species. Bats play key ecological roles, yet little is known about their free‐ranging density. We used a long‐term banding study of four species caught in an extensively forested climate refuge and spatial capture–recapture models (SCR) to estimate density and its change over time. Between 1999 and 2020, there were 3671 captures of four bat species, which were all edge‐space foragers. Recaptures represented 16% (n = 587) of all captures, of which 89 were between‐trap‐cluster movements. Closed spatial mark–recapture models estimated plausible densities that varied with elevation. Preferred elevations differed between species, with density averaging 0.63 ha−1 for Vespadelus darlingtoni (high elevation), 0.43 ha−1 for V. pumilus (low elevation), 0.19 ha−1 for Chalinolobus morio (high elevation), and 0.08 ha−1 for V. regulus (high elevation). Overall, densities were higher than most previous published estimates for bats. Forest disturbance history (past timber harvesting) had no detectable effect on density. Density also varied substantially across years, and although annual maximum temperature and rainfall were not supported in models, some time periods showed an apparent relationship between density and annual rainfall (+ve) and/or annual maximum temperature (−ve). The most notable change was an increase in the density of V. pumilus after 2013, which tracked an increase in annual temperature at the site, reflecting a warming climate. Bat densities in forests outside of climate refugia are likely to be more sensitive to climate change, but more studies are needed in different habitats and continents and outside climate refugia to place the densities we estimated into a broader context. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
      Copyright of Ecology & Evolution (20457758) is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)