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Indicator Bats Program: using citizens to deliver science and conservation

Extinction: past, present and future

Can we move beyond recording extinctions, and
recognising threatened species, to prediction and to designing preventative actions?



Observing Monitoring Modelling Predicting Managing

Bats as indicators?
Represent a fifth of all mammalian biodiversity Occupy a wide range of niches Provide a number of ecosystem services Sensitive to climate change as depend on nocturnal flying
insects (themselves sensitive to changes in temperature)

Sensitive to pollution through poisoning of their insect prey


Why are bat indicators important?

Policy Implications and Profile Raising Why just birds and butterflies? Raise profile on international biodiversity agenda Fund raising mechanism for long-term monitoring Importance in Landscape Planning Landscape-wide indicators of ecosystem function Facilitate effective planning of sustainable development

Understanding distributions
European bat species richness Habitat & climate associations can be used to.. predict change in distributions predict change in population status

Source: Global Mammal Assessment

Understanding population changes

Changes in populations can be used to.. understand the reasons for change indicate problems within the environment

Source: NBMP: Bat Conservation Trust

Bats UK SEBI2010 Indicators

Other possible indicators water quality climatic change habitat connectivity public involvement

Bats UK SEBI2010 Indicators

Indicator of public involvement and wider appreciation of biodiversity

A monitoring program needs

Long-term records generated with a common protocol Sustained funding for personnel and resources. Successful models train volunteers in monitoring
protocols, who then donate their time during the annual surveys.

However, there is no global monitoring program for

bats and no agreed upon protocols for even developing one


EUROBATS The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats

Established in 1994 currently 30 Parties (UNEP 2001) Agreement set up under the Convention on Migratory
Species - to protect all 45 species found in Europe

Advisory Committee set up PanEuropean monitoring and

action plans to address declines, recognising important sites, esp. of migratory spp.

Comprehensive international program for endangered batspecies in Europe

Current monitoring programs

Number of parties to EUROBATS have started formal
National Bat Monitoring Programs

has longest running NBMP

Intersessional Working Group on Guidelines on

Surveillance and Monitoring Methods for European Bats

Development of BatLife Europe (led by BCT) to

coordinate PanEuropean monitoring

Indicator Bats Program - iBats

To generate monitoring data on bat species distributions
and abundances across the world to evaluate the effect of global change on biodiversity loss.
Collaborate with existing national and international bat
monitoring projects

Initiate new bat monitoring projects Develop and implement novel monitoring protocols Provide a centralised common database to store and analyse
global bat monitoring data

Disseminate protocols and results through an interactive web data

portal (www.ibats.org.uk)

BCT's volunteer network of mad Brits

Monitoring Irish bats acoustic car transects

The first pilot in 2003 with the newly formed Bat Conservation
Ireland - 7 survey teams

2004 - 17 survey routes 2005 - 21 routes with 40 volunteers 2006 - 26 routes with 59 volunteers Adopted by the Irish Government as the official monitoring
technique for 3 species

BCIreland has been expanding to more intensive monitoring


Using car surveys to monitor bat populations

Using car surveys to monitor bat populations

UK Results 2005-2006
A total of 6911km (3573km 2005; 3338km 2006) of road
were driven.

A total of 10147 (4719 bats 2005; 5428 bats 2006) were

recorded from 10 bat species/species groups and a total of 910 (399 2005; 511 2006) other mammal species were recorded from 28 species groups.

Bats encountered included common, soprano and

Nathusius pipistrelles, Leislers bats, noctules, serotines and Myotis spp.

The top seven other mammal species encountered were:

rabbits; bats; foxes; hedgehogs; mice; hares; and badgers.
Source: Bats and Roadside Mammals Survey (BCT, Mammals Trust UK)

UK Bat encounter rate

UK Nightly variation in encounter rate

All bat encounters Common pipistrelle encounters

Seasonal variation

UK Habitat associations

Source: Bats and Roadside Mammals Survey (BCT, Mammals Trust UK)

Differences in community composition

Soprano bats encountered more frequently in Scotland and west of Ireland than England or Wales. Is this linked to climate sopranos forage on water borne insects? Is it the same across Europe?

Source: Bat Conservation Ireland

Source: Bats and Roadside Mammals Survey (BCT, Mammals Trust UK)

The Darwin Initiative

iBats: Eastern Europe

Romanian Bat Protection Association

The Green Balkans, Bulgaria

Project management: UK

Green: coordinator contribution Blue: volunteer contribution

iBats data portal

Multiple layers of access
depending on user

Database for acoustic

transects and species distributions and abundances

Provides online tools for

sonogram analysis and abundance and distribution modelling and trend analysis

Central information distributor

for best practice protocols and training materials

iBats Romania

iBats Bulgaria

Global iBats


Global iBats - SWOT

Strengths Standardized protocols Simple data collection methodologies Public involvement in biodiversity monitoring Effective use of limited resources Can deliver regional, national and international monitoring Web portal acts to manage data, people and projects Builds capacity using existing networks Low cost

Global iBats - SWOT

Weaknesses Technical issues: large data files, equipment integration, web portal development Analytical issues: sound analysis subjective and lengthy, call identification problems, lack of call libraries Data input limited to this methodology

Global iBats - SWOT

Opportunities A global bat monitoring system Mass public participation Profile raising for bat conservation Understanding global distributions of bats and future threats Global call libraries Systems for automatic identification and analysis Threats Data collected incompatibly Unsustainable monitoring not enough power to detect trends

Global iBats

Thanks to EDGE Program, British Ecological Society, Mammals Trust UK, Romanian Bat Protection Association, Bat Conservation Ireland, The Green Balkans, TEAM Conservation International, Lubee Bat Conservancy, Darwin Initiative, Rufford Foundation, Bat Conservation International