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Bats keep separate households
Date:3/24/2011

This press release is available in German.

The use of different resources by males and females exacerbates the estimation of population sizes. However, the monitoring of population sizes, particularly for rare and threatened species, is pivotal to quick and effective conservation action. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell investigated the ecological niches of male and female parti-colored bats (Vespertilio murinus) and found out that the sexes use entirely different foraging grounds. With their results they can show that a finer grained view of what different demographic subsets of species do is essential for correct estimation of population trends with important implications on action plans for conservation.

Reliable knowledge of population sizes and changes thereof often obtained by field surveys is essential for conservation. Differences in behaviour between demographic subsets of species, for example males and females, can lead to differences in resource use such as in diet or roost use. These differences can lead to specialisation and ultimately translate into spatial segregation within species. Reliable estimates of population sizes are however much hampered by sexual segregation. For threatened and rare species monitoring of population trends are essential for fast and appropriate conservation action.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell and their collaborators at the Swiss bat conservation centre now propose a novel way to obtain better estimates of population size for sexually segregating species.

They investigated the parti-colored bat (Vespertilio murinus) in Switzerland. And although the distribution of this species stretches over a vast area reaching from the Netherlands all the way to China, the species is rare in Western Europe.
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Contact: Leonore Apitz
apitz@orn.mpg.de
49-773-215-0174
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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