Study shows global warming likely to alter bat echolocation abilities

Dec 11, 2013 by Bob Yirka report
bat

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany has conducted sonic studies that suggest that the echolocation abilities of bats around the world are likely to be impacted by global warming. In their study published in The Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the group explains how they found that warming temperatures are likely to impact attenuation of bat chirps in various ways.

Bats, as most are aware, make their way through the air using echolocation—they emit sounds and listen as the sounds are bounced back to them after hitting something. This ability not only helps them avoid running into things in dark, but it's the means by which they identify and catch prey. In this new effort, the researchers found that changes in air temperature of just a few degrees could have a profound impact on the abilities of around the world.

Attenuation—the tendency of sound to lose volume and clarity as it moves through the air (or other materials) is impacted by a variety of factors, such as humidity, wind and of course heat—low frequency sounds are less impacted than are high frequency sounds. This means that bats that live in temperate climates such as North America or Europe (who use high frequency chirps) are likely to face more challenges than low frequency chirping bats living in the tropics, as global temperature rise.

Of course nothing in nature is as simple as that, other factors have an impact on survival of species as well, and global warming is almost certain to cause environmental impacts that no one foresaw. But, what is clear from this new study is that some bats are likely to be winners, and some losers, because of where they live. Those that live in temperate climates but who use low frequencies, for example, might find the hunting getting easier. Others who are slow to adapt, on the other hand, may find the added stress of having to chirp louder, lower or more often, too much to bare leaving them with too little energy to mate.

An associated finding with this study is that it highlights the fact that the more the impact of is studied, the more we discover just how far and wide the impact will be felt, both on a global scale, and within simple communities, such as those occupied by bats.

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More information: Global warming alters sound transmission: differential impact on the prey detection ability of echolocating bats, Published 11 December 2013 DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2013.0961

Abstract
Climate change impacts the biogeography and phenology of plants and animals, yet the underlying mechanisms are little known. Here, we present a functional link between rising temperature and the prey detection ability of echolocating bats. The maximum distance for echo-based prey detection is physically determined by sound attenuation. Attenuation is more pronounced for high-frequency sound, such as echolocation, and is a nonlinear function of both call frequency and ambient temperature. Hence, the prey detection ability, and thus possibly the foraging efficiency, of echolocating bats and susceptible to rising temperatures through climate change. Using present-day climate data and projected temperature rises, we modelled this effect for the entire range of bat call frequencies and climate zones around the globe. We show that depending on call frequency, the prey detection volume of bats will either decrease or increase: species calling above a crossover frequency will lose and species emitting lower frequencies will gain prey detection volume, with crossover frequency and magnitude depending on the local climatic conditions. Within local species assemblages, this may cause a change in community composition. Global warming can thus directly affect the prey detection ability of individual bats and indirectly their interspecific interactions with competitors and prey.

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User comments : 8

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jackiecox
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2013
The idea of global warming is interesting and seemilgly follows the increase in population rather than any other variable, The idea of a change in a few 100 parts per million of CO2, given the time our instrumentation can identify the actual amount, without theoretical axiomic formulas, would make it difficult to discover a standard with any real meaning, Having been reading about the rise in sea level starting a couple of decades ago then acellerating with a lawyers opinion makes it a political theory that results in the cap and trade deals or money made on the global warming statement made wihout valid premise. I have lived near gulf, atlantic, pacific beach towns continually for decades and have difficulty detecting any visual rise in sea levels---Actually I witness winters getting increasingly colder, starting earlier and lasting longer--- would like to see extrapolation on seabottom sedimentation related to our suns orbit around the galactic center, the next great ice age
EnricM
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2013
Actually I witness winters getting increasingly colder, starting earlier and lasting longer--- would like to see extrapolation on seabottom sedimentation related to our suns orbit around the galactic center, the next great ice age


Nice! Of course we have to take your witness as Definitive Trust.

Here in Holland we have a little problem with our national pride: A natural ice skating competition called "Elfstedentocht". It needs natural ice and freezing for a week to ten days in a row. Unfortunately we have been unable to celebrate it since 1997, and before this one we had to wait 11 years :_(
https://nl.wikipe...dentocht

We are also building our dikes and dams bigger...

So, I would like to ask you kindly if you could send a letter to our government telling them that it's all a swindle and that you can confirm that we don't need to renew our coastal defences and that we will be able to celebrate our Elfstentocht again every year as it used to be... THX!
orti
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2013
I know of no better measure of the loss of AGW credibility than the gain in the number and silliness of articles like this one. Coming up: the horrors of paint drying 0.01% faster.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
Here in Holland we have a little problem ...(an) ice skating competition called "Elfstedentocht". ...needs natural ice and freezing for a week to ten days in a row. Unfortunately we have been unable to celebrate it since 1997, and before this one we had to wait 11 years ...we ...(want to) be able to celebrate our Elfstentocht again every year as it used to be...
Why do AGWites have to resort to lying to make a point?

Elfstedentocht only rarely runs in consecutive years. On average (from its inception in 1909 to the end of the 20th century) it only runs about once every six years, and the current 16 year hiatus isn't even the longest. The longest was 22 years.

http://en.wikiped...dentocht

goracle
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
Here in Holland we have a little problem ...(an) ice skating competition called "Elfstedentocht". ...needs natural ice and freezing for a week to ten days in a row. Unfortunately we have been unable to celebrate it since 1997, and before this one we had to wait 11 years ...we ...(want to) be able to celebrate our Elfstentocht again every year as it used to be...
Why do AGWites have to resort to lying to make a point?

Elfstedentocht only rarely runs in consecutive years. On average (from its inception in 1909 to the end of the 20th century) it only runs about once every six years, and the current 16 year hiatus isn't even the longest. The longest was 22 years.

http://en.wikiped...dentocht


Uba, I would not hazard a guess on that. I bow to your considerable expertise in telling repeated falsehoods in service of a political agenda.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
Why do AGWites have to resort to lying to make a point?

Elfstedentocht only rarely runs in consecutive years. On average (from its inception in 1909 to the end of the 20th century) it only runs about once every six years, and the current 16 year hiatus isn't even the longest. The longest was 22 years.

http://en.wikiped...dentocht
Uba, I would not hazard a guess on that. I bow to your considerable expertise in telling repeated falsehoods in service of a political agenda.
Again, why do AGWites have to lie? What is YOUR political agenda?

Maggnus
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
Trolling: v. - trolling is purposely sowing hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny, or just simple bickering between others. Trolls themselves are emotionally-immature users who thrive in any environment where they are allowed to make public comments, like blog sites, news sites, discussion forums
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
Trolling: v. - trolling is purposely sowing hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny, or just simple bickering between others. Trolls themselves are emotionally-immature users who thrive in any environment where they are allowed to make public comments, like blog sites, news sites, discussion forums
Which is precisely the sort of behavior you recently admitted to here:

http://phys.org/n...ons.html

"I am not arguing that Uba's argument is wrong ...I am straight up insulting and dismissing those people..." - Maggnus

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