New website calls for help from bat detectives

October 3, 2012
Brown long-eared bat © Hugh Clark. Credit: Bat Conservation Trust

Scientists are asking for the public's help to monitor bats across Europe and track changes in our environment by listening to their weirdly wonderful ultrasonic tweets on a new website.

The Bat Detective website allows visitors to take part in conservation by listening out for bat tweets in recordings collected over 80,000 km of roads across Europe by thousands of volunteers from the iBats programme, including bat recordings from the heart of Transylvania.

By sorting the sounds in the recordings into insect and bat calls, bat detectives will help biologists learn how to reliably distinguish bat tweets to develop new automatic identification tools.

"Bats use lots of different types of sounds, from singing to each other to find a mate, to using the echoes from their tweets to find their way around," said Professor Kate Jones from UCL and Chair of the Bat Conservation Trust.

She added: "Usually bat sounds are inaudible to humans as they are too high for us to hear, but special 'time expansion' ultrasonic detectors convert these sounds to a lower frequency. Visitors to the Bat Detective website can listen to these unique recordings and help us distinguish different sounds."

One out of every four species of bats is threatened with extinction and better automatic identification tools are desperately needed to quickly process vast amounts of sound data collected by volunteers from the bat monitoring programme iBats who survey each year.

Bats are found all over the world from local parks to pristine rainforests and monitoring their provides an important indicator of healthy . Developing new tools that allow to interpret population trends from sound will allow bats' tweets to act as a way to track

"Because of the hard work of the iBats volunteers who have collected these sounds, the UCL team were at risk of being overwhelmed", said Dr. Chris Lintott of University of Oxford who leads the team that designed and built the site. "We hope that hundreds of thousands of people will help us listen in to what the bats are saying and to also build important tools for conservation".

In the next few months the Bat Detective team plan to expand the sounds on the site to other regions so that visitors can hear bat from around the world.

Explore further: Scientists discover exactly how bats fly

More information: www.batdetective.org/

Related Stories

Scientists discover exactly how bats fly

February 7, 2006

University of Maryland scientists using infrared cameras and ultrasonic microphones have found exactly how a bat moves in response to sound.

Some bat numbers up in Britain

December 31, 2006

At least four species of bats in Britain have reversed decades of declining populations and have grown in numbers recently.

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.