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Welcome  to  BatLife  Information

BatLife Information is an information portal on bats and bat research with special emphasis on Europe. Any contributions to update the web pages are welcomed.

The portal is managed by BatLife Nordica, also named Nordic Chiroptera Information Center (NIFF). The membership organization covers Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

News from the Nordic Countries and NIFF: Batlife Nordica.

 

 


  Last moment reminders

Please send us news on what is going around in Europe.

For conferences, symposiums and workshops they need to be open to the public (not internal working meetings), and preferably in the European mutual language which is English or another international language used in Europe, such as Russian, French or Spanish.

 

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Recent News
European bats and bat related research



Saturday 2 May 2020

International renowned bat scientist Thomas Kunz died at age 81
Thomas Henry Kunz, distinguished biologist and Boston University Professor, passed away on 13th of April at the age of 81 due to complications of COVID-19. He had since 2011 spent his time at a nursing home due to brain injuries from a car accident while he attended a conference in Toronto.
     
Kunz joined the faculty in the Department of Biology at Boston University in 1971. His research focused on the ecology, behavior, evolution, and conservation biology of bats. He is the author or co-author of more than 280 publications, and edited or coedited six books on the biology and ecology of bats. He was also involved in organizing the 10th International Bat Reserach Conference held in Boston during 1995. The professor was, perhaps, most productive at the age of 73 in 2011, when he coached seven PhD students and active grants from six different agencies.
      If you wish to honor Kunz, you may do so by a donation to the Tom Kunz Endowed Biology Fund. You can find more information here.
     
You can read about his biography at Bosten University. His obituary tells about his life and accomplishements, as well as Wikipedia.
      Best of memories...


 



Thomas Kunz on the field trip during the 10th European Bat Research Symposium in Galliu, Ireland. Photo: Leif Yngve Gjerde.


Wednesday 28 April 2020

ERBS 2020 postponed to 2021
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic and many uncertainties regarding the developments in the next few months, the conference organizers decided Thursday last week to postpone 15th European Bat Research Symposium until 2021. The new dates are 2. to 6. August 2021.
     
For more information and updates check their web page www.ebrs2020.fi. Pictures from previous EBRS meetings may be viewed here.


 



Photo: Leif Yngve Gjerde.


13 March 2020

6th International Berlin Bat Meeting has been cancelled
The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research originally planned on organizing the 6th International Berlin Bat Meeting during 23-25 March 2020. Unfortunately it has now been cancelled due to the spread of the Corona virus (SARS CoV 2) which may give the desease COVID-19.
      Christian C. Voigt and Tanja Straka announced today in an e-mail:
«We regret to inform you that we had to postpone the upcoming 6th International Berlin Bat Meeting: The human perspective on bats due to the pandemic spread of SARS CoV 2. We are no longer allowed to host conferences in Berlin at this point. We envisage having the conference in March 2021.»
      For more information and updates check their web page www.batlab.de. Pictures from previous meetings may be viewed here.


 


 


Christian C. Voigt during the meeting in 2015. Photo: Leif Yngve Gjerde.


Saturday 15 February 2020

Neil Middleton publish milestone book
The new book "Is that a bat?" describes sounds we can detect on an ultrasonic detector. That is, all sounds, except those from the bats themselves. There is still a lot of lack in knowledge about the bats' ultrasound. Traditionally we have focused on the animals' search calls, feeding buzzes and commuting calls. This has been the case since the 1980's. But, for example, the animals' social sounds have generally been ignored. This could be males marking territories, or animals arguing in the air. Social bat calls were first highlighted as late as 2014, when Neil Middleton published his book on this topic. So far, Middleton is alone on publishing such a book.
      
However, Neil Middleton has made another step. He has now included all sounds, except bats, in his new book. This is of course very useful, since almost as often we come across sounds we cannot identify. Amphibians, birds, grasshoppers and small rodents can all emit ultrasound on a regular basis. Several of these sounds are species specific. In addition, a number of mechanical sounds may find its way to the detector. All of this can cause confusion when we try to identify our recorded sounds. So the knowledge Middleton conveys in his latest book is absolutely useful to any bat scientist.
      The book is for anyone who works actively with bat sounds, and is strongly recommended. It should be a permanent
inventory of any library dealing with bats.
      The book was published in January, and NIFF was sent a copy by the author this week. NIFF has been mentioned several times, including from the Askim workshop in 2018. More on this comes in the book review which will be included in the
next issue of Fennoscandian Bats.


 

 


Saturday 8 February 2020

Bat trips to see hibernating bats at Mønsted Limestone Mines
In the late 1990s Mønsted started with guided tours to see hibernating bats during February. They offered people tours on both Saturday and Sunday during both winter holiday weekends. These tours were very popular and 50-150 people participated on each tour.
      However, winter is a vulnerable time for bats
since they are in hibernation. Disturbances may significantly reduce the bats' possibility for survival, and thus such activity has generally been taboo. Most serious researchers have rejected such activity. It was therefore controversial when Mønsted started with guided tours during winter. Although only a limited part of the mines are visited, and where relatively few bats have been found, many people have been critical to this practice. When Mønsted opened for winter tours, this inspired other less serious companies to start guiding as well.
      
However, studies from both Mønsted and Thingbæk show that, despite human winter visits, the number of hibernating bats have increased over the years.
      Mønsted limestone mines have two daily tours of the mines during the entire Danish winter holiday
s.


 

 




Over 18.000 bats hibernate in the mines at Mønsted in Danmark. Foto: Leif Yngve Gjerde.


Friday 31 January 2020

11th European Bat Detector Workshop to be organized in Finland 2020
The European Bat Detector Workshop was first organized in the Netherlands during 1991. Since, this workshop has been organized in connection to the European Bat Research Symposium (either just before, or after). This year the 15th European Bat Research Symposium will be organized in Turku during 3-7 August (check our meeting calender at www.batlife.info/meetings/).
     
So it is the pleasure of the Nordic Chiroptera Information Center (NIFF)  to invite you to the 11th European Bat Detector Workshop, which will be organized in Kausala, 133 km east of Helsinki.
      The five day (four night) workshop will include peer-reviewed oral presentations, posters, workshops, and sessions for exchanging experience in field practices.

      The aim of the workshop is to get field training in practical bat work, especially the use of various models of both passive and active bat detectors. This will improve our training and knowledge of the latest technology and experience on field identification of flying bats. The mixture of novice and well experienced bat workers (and everything between) enhances the learning process by self awareness and development.
     
For more information check our web site www.ebdw.eu.


 

 




An Anabat passive detector with weather box.


Friday 29 November 2019

New «handbook» include all the bats in the world
Volume 9 of the Handbook of Mammals of the World is the latest issue in a book series containing all the mammals in the world. The latest and last volume addresses all the so far 1,400 known species on our planet.
       Each species is covered with text, maps, illustrations and references. According to Lynx publisher, the information should be updated, but NIFF has information that a lot of key knowledge might not be included.
Still, the book is the most comprehensive work on our bats ever published.
       NIFF has received a copy
to be reviewed.
The book review will appear in the next issue of Gudnjoloddi and Fennsocandian Bats.


 





Thursday 31 October 2019

Bird species of the Eurasian steppes will reveal the origin of the Party-colored Bat
The geographic origin of the Party-colored Bat (Vespertilio discolor) has so far been unclear. It has always been presumed that they originated from the steppe regions of South-eastern Europe, north of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Furthermore, it was presumed they foraged in grassland during summer, followed by mating activity and hibernation in mountain areas containing cliffs.
      A new literature study has as objective to review bird species with similar ecological and habitat requirements as the Parti-colored Bat. This study might shead some light to the mystery that has followed this species since the 1800's.
      The study is being carried out by Leif Gjerde from NIFF.


 




31 July 2019

Wildlife Acoustics discontinues the SongMeter 3
The USA based manufacturer Wildlife Acoustics recently announced that from July 2019 their second generation of passive detectors, the SongMeter 3, will be out of production. The SongMeter 3 was originally launched in May 2014 as a new generation of the perfect detector. It was developed based on the experiences from the SM2 detector. However, the SM3 was considerably more expensive and a lot heavier. The size and weight made it impractical for field use. The SM3 lasted only five years.


 




Tuesday 25 June 2019

Increase in number of hibernating bats in Swedish mines due to climate change?
During 1980 to 2017, hibernating bats were montored at three abandoned mines in southern Sweden. Taberg and Kleva mines each have around 1.5 km of accessible passages. Here, a maximum of 517 (Taberg) and 132 (Kleva) bats are recorded, divided on 6 species. Ädelfors is a small mine with only a maximum of 22 individuals.
      The number has been constant for
the Daubenton Bats and Brown Longeared Bat. In contrast, Wiskered Bat, Brandts' Bat and Nathusius' Bat have increased greatly in numbers. The Northern Bat have shown a significant but weak decline.
     
The same trend for the same species has also been demonstrated in continental Europe and the British Isles. This indicates that there is a common cause for the changes in species populations.
The authors are bold enough to suggest that there are climate changes that might cause the changes, without any further evidence of this.

Source
: Jens Rydell, Johan Eklöf, Hans Fransson, and Sabine Lind. 2018. Long-Term Increase in Hibernating Bats in Swedish Mines — Effect of Global Warming? Acta Chiropterologica 20 (2), 421-426. ISSN


 

 



Daubentons Bat inside Romsåsen mines. Photo: Leif Yngve Gjerde.


5 May 2019

6th International Berlin Bat Meeting to be organized in March 2020
The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research is organizing the 6th International Berlin Bat Meeting during 23-25 March 2020.
      With this conference, Christian C. Voigt and Tanja Straka would like to foster an exchange of ideas related to «human perspectives on bats». Registration will open early summer. For more information and updates check their web page www.batlab.de.
     
Pictures from previous meetings may be viewed here.


 



Christian C. Voigt during the meeting in 2015. Photo: Leif Yngve Gjerde.


13 December 2018

New bat detector: Titley Scientific launches the Anabat Scout
Our two large manufacturers seem to go separate ways in regards to developing new detectors. While the USA based firm Wildlife Acoustics are discontinuing their production of active detectors for field use, the Australian firm Titley Scientific have chosen to launch yet another active detector for fieldwork. Three years ago they launched «the Walkabout». And this November a new detector was announced,  the Anabat Scout.
      The Anabat Scout is a simpler model compared to the Walkabout, but also at a lower cost. It records in full spectrum, and include heterodyne, auto-heterodyne and frequency division. A built in GPS enables to use it for transects, since the recordings and GPS are both time-stamped. An interesting feature is the inclusion of a bat counter. Sounds of emerging and returning bats can be time stamped by two separate buttons. This is a useful tool when counting emerging bats at colonies. Titley Scientific have been creative when developing this detector, making them the first manufacturer with this feature on a detector.


 


 



1 November 2018

New guidelines: Guidelines for consideration of bats in lighting projects
The authors tried to compile available evidence related to the effect of artificial light at night on the European bats. Based on the current state of knowledge, solutions are proposed concerning possible ways to avoid, mitigate and compensate the adverse effects which lighting projects may have on bats and their functional habitats. The authors also outlined research priorities for future studies, required for in-depth understanding of the problem and assessing efficiency of proposed mitigative measures.
      These guidelines were developed by the EUROBATS Advisory Committee in collaboration with external experts in pursuance of Resolution 7.13 on Implementation of the Conservation and Management Plan.
      NIFF hope to make a book review, which in part will be published here, with more details in the next number of Fennoscandian Bats.


 



31 October 2018

New book: Bat Roosts in Trees
This is a guide to finding tree-roosts. It is the result of the collaborative efforts of professional surveyors and amateur naturalists across Europe as part of the Bat Tree Habitat Key project.
      It is the first time legislation and planning policy have been reviewed and put to practical use to define an analysis framework with clearly identifiable thresholds for action. Yet, despite its efficacy in a professional context, it is also the first time a guide has been produced that is equally effective in achieving its objective for amateurs.
      It is the first time such a method has been evidence-supported throughout, with summary reviews of each aspect of the roosting ecology of the individual 14 tree-roosting species, with illustrative photographs and data to which the reader has open access.
      It is the first time a repeatable analysis framework has been defined against which the surveyor may compare their results at every stage, from the desk-study, through ground-truthing, survey and analysis, thereby ensuring nothing is overlooked and that every result can be objectively compared. The survey and analysis framework itself is ground-breaking in that it may readily be adapted for any taxa; from moths, through amphibians, reptiles, birds and all other mammals.
      NIFF hope to make a book review, which in part will be published here, with more details in the next number of Fennoscandian Bats.


 



30 October 2018

Mating season for Vespertilio murinus has started
This species forage above lakes during summer, and migrate to nearby cities during fall where it mates and hibernate. During the mating season it performs its display flight with a sound audible to most people below 55 in age. Tall buildings are chosen, typically apartment buildings of 9 stories or more. However, industrial buildings, silos, churches, quarries or even natural cliffs may be selected if they are tall enough.
      The stronghold of the species lie in southern Scandinavia (south of Oslo-Stockholm), which include Aarhus and Copenhagen. It is also commonly found in northern Germany. In the rest of Europe it seems to have a patchy distribution. However, the species absence probably reflect the lack of bat workers surveying this species during the fall months, rather then its actual distribution.
      The season starts in September, and last till Christmas if the weather permits. Their display flight may still be observed during 0
ºC and with landscape covered in snow! It is found as far south as Slovenia and Switzerland, and fall records of migratory individuals in the Pyrenees. During recent years it has been reported annually from bat hospitals in the south of England.
     
A web page has been designed for this bats' fall activities. It contains information on the fall distribution of the Parti-colored Bat in Europe, including behaviour and ecology of its display flight. The web page encourages people who study the advertisement calls in this species, to cooperate and share information with the European project. The web page may be viewed at batlife.info.


 







10 September 2018

Helpline with record high of phone calls concerning bats in distress
This summer NIFF reached a record high of phone calls from people who found bats in distress. The reason for this could be many, but this summer was extremely hot and dry with a number of weather records broken. Furthermore, the season seems to have been earlier than normal.
      People send the strangest messages using e-mail, phone or SMS. NIFF's work is done on a volunteer basis, so we have not had the capacity of following up all the calls. The majority of calls we received were from Norway, and most people unfortunately only take contact once.
      Most of the requests refer to juveniles which just learned to fly. We always ask for pictures of the bats, since they give valuable information on species identification and age. The bat on the illustration picture (right) show a juvenile Eptesicus nilssonii, which is aged by its proportional larger head and little grey spot on its crown. Photo from 21 July.


 



10 August 2018

Bat Call Reference Library Collection Trip in Trøndelag
During the 10th European Bat detector Workshop in Biddarai (the Basque Country) in 2017, there was established a working group whose aim was to standardize methods for collecting bat calls in the field. Special focus was on (1) developing microphone standards, (2) establishing a bat call reference library and (3) enabling inexpensive high quality detectors and microphones.
      In connection to this work, five people joined a post-workshop expedition to Trøndelag (Central Norway) during
6. to 9. of August. Chris Corben (USA/Australia), Leif Gjerde and Arnold Andreasson participated as specialists from the working group, while Laura Alsina (Spain) and Angel Iglesias (Catalonia) also joined.
     
Three colonies were visited on three separate days to collect calls from emerging bats. Also the surrounding habitats were visited. The species were from known colonies of Myotis brandtii, Myotis mystacinus and Eptesicus nilssonii, making species identification safe for the calls collected. Furthermore, no nearby colonies exist of any confusing species.
      The results from the trip will be included in the Proceedings. More details will also be included in the next number of
Fennoscandian Bats. A photo gallery will eventually be available on www.batlife.info.


 



 



6. August 2018

3rd European Alpine Bat Detector Workshop organized in Askim, Norway
A handful of people from 9 countries participated during the 3rd European Alpine Bat Detector Workshop which was organized in Askim (South-Eastern Norway) during 2. - 6. August 2018. This series of workshops were first organized in Trenta (Slovenia) during 2012, followed by the second in Vercors (France) in 2015. So this years workshop was the beginning of a new tradition, with the third of its kind.
      The workshop was organized by Leif Gjerde and Arnold Andreasson, both from NIFF, who were responsible for the program. The aim of the workshop was to provide field training in practical bat work, especially with the use of various models of both passive and active bat detectors.
     
The results from the workshop will be included in the Proceedings. More details will also be included in the next number of Fennoscandian Bats. A photo gallery will eventually be available on www.batlife.info.


 







22 March 2018

10th Anniversary of the European Bat Detector Workshops
In 1991 it was taken initiative to organize the 1st European Bat Detector Workshop, which was held in the Netherlands. This was the beginning of a new tradition of organizing a detector workshop just prior or after the EBRS, either in the same or a neighbouring country.
      During the European Bat Research Symposium in Kroatia in 2014 the workshop had been ignored, making it necessary with a last minute get-together after the symposium, with only a handful people. This barely saved the 9th EBDW. However, it was with delight when during the last day of the Croatian symposium that the organizer of the next symposium in Donostia explicitly stated that they would also organize the 10th European Bat Detector Workshop. However, this did not happen. So NIFF and Bluebat took the initiative to organize the 10th workshop in Bidarrai. Now the structure of planning and organizing these workshops have been changed to prevent future fall-outs.
      The Spaniard Juan Tomás Alcalde was a participant in the Netherlands 26 years earlier, and rejoined the anniversary workshop in 2017 (see illustration picture right). The photo gallery from the workshop is now available on www.batlife.info/gallery/.


 



 



18 January 2018

3rd European Alpine Bat Detector Workshop
Askim (Norway) 2.-6. August 2018
I
t is the pleasure of the Nordic Chiroptera Information Center (NIFF)  to inviting you to the 3rd European Alpine Bat Detector Workshop, which will be organized in Askim (South-Eastern Norway) during 2. - 6. August 2018. The area is located only 55 km from downtown Oslo and 37 km from the Swedish border.
      The European Alpine Bat Research Symposium was first organized in Trenta (Slovenia) during 2012, followed by the second in Vercors (France) in 2015. Thus, this years workshop is the beginning of a new tradition, with the third of its kind.
      The aim of the workshop is to get field training in practical bat work, especially the use of various models of both passive and active bat detectors. Registration is open. So if you wish to join the historical event, you can equire more information here: www.ebdw.eu.


 





8 January 2018

2nd Social Calls of Bats Conference
Edinburgh (Scotland) 26th & 27th April 2018
A two day conference will be organized outside Edinburgh (Scotland) on the 26th and 27th of April. A total of 10 specialists from England and Europe will be present talks about social calls in bats
. For more information check the BatAbility web page.
      This conference is the second of its kind in Europe, and is organized by Neil Middleton, Keith French, Andrew Froud, and supported by Echoes Ecology Ltd. The conference is a follow up of the book Social Calls of Britain and Ireland,  which was published in 2014.
      A photo gallery from the first conference may be viewed here at batlife.info.

 




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