More opportunities for bats in forts along the New Dutch Waterline

Jul 03, 2013
More opportunities for bats in forts along the New Dutch Waterline

Climatic conditions such as temperature and humidity have less influence on the presence of bats in the abandoned forts along the New Dutch Waterline than the size of the forts and the availability of hiding places. This is the conclusion of an article published by a research team from Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, in the journal Ecological Applications.

The forts of the New Dutch Waterline are important hibernation sites for large numbers of . Until now, it was unclear why the bats preferred these specific locations. Do they select these structures because of their and , or is it because they are located near water and forest habitats?

By conducting on a large database of bat surveys, Dr Fred de Boer and his co-researchers from Wageningen University and Radboud University have shown that the size of the forts and the availability of hiding places is the main reason that more species and more bats choose some forts over others.

Climatic conditions such as humidity and temperature do not appear to have a strong influence even though previous studies indicated this. The forts are also used by people for excursions, restaurants, campsites, or exhibition spaces. The team of Wageningen and Radboud researchers also showed that opening the forts to visitors, or not closing them to hikers, has a negative effect on the number of bats.

Additionally, the surrounding landscape appears to have an effect: the various species of bats respond differently to the physical layout of the landscape. Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) appears to be much less influenced by the availability of water in the vicinity than previously thought, and it is less common near water if other suitable hibernation sites are available. The common long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) actually responds positively to the presence of buildings, probably because they roost there in the summer, but the species is negatively affected by the amount of farmland in the area. The layout of the surrounding landscape, besides the size of the forts themselves, consequently plays an important role. These results provide good options for managing the forts to improve their suitability for bats by, for example, providing additional hiding places.

The New Dutch Waterline, which was built in the 19th century, is a line of defence fortifications extending from the Biesbosch to the IJsselmeer between Naarden and Muiden with Pampus as the endpoint. The 85-kilometer line is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Explore further: Genetically tracking farmed fish escaping into the wild

More information: Boer, W. et al. (2013) Hibernation site requirements of bats in man-made hibernacula in spatial context, Ecological Applications (2013) 2. ISSN 1051-0761-p. 502-514.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bat maps: The conservation crusade

Jul 02, 2013

Conservation efforts have taken an important step forward, thanks to observations of bats – creatures that make up a quarter of all of the UK's native mammal species.

Endangered bats find sanctuary in Israeli 'ghost bunkers'

Apr 12, 2012

Abandoned army bunkers along the Jordan River have become a habitat for 12 indigenous bat species, three of which are already designated as endangered and two that are on the critical list. The bats were recently identified ...

Hibernation keeps rabies going in bats

Jun 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, infectious disease biologist Dylan George from Colorado State University reports that a bat’s hibernation is wha ...

Climate change projected to alter Indiana bat maternity range

Jan 28, 2013

Research by US Forest Service scientists forecasts profound changes over the next 50 years in the summer range of the endangered Indiana bat. In an article published in the journal Ecology and Evolution, Forest Service Southe ...

Recommended for you

Genetically tracking farmed fish escaping into the wild

23 hours ago

European sea product consumption is on the rise. With overfishing being a threat to the natural balance of the ocean, the alternative is to turn to aquaculture, the industrial production of fish and seafood. ...

France fights back Asian hornet invader

Aug 20, 2014

They slipped into southwest France 10 years ago in a pottery shipment from China and have since invaded more than half the country, which is fighting back with drones, poisoned rods and even chickens.

Tide turns for shark fin in China

Aug 20, 2014

A sprawling market floor in Guangzhou was once a prime location for shark fin, one of China's most expensive delicacies. But now it lies deserted, thanks to a ban from official banquet tables and a celebrity-driven ...

Manatees could lose their endangered species status

Aug 19, 2014

About 2,500 manatees have perished in Florida over the last four years, heightening tension between conservationists and property owners as federal officials prepare to decide whether to down-list the creature to threatened ...

User comments : 0