Methodological challenges in monitoring bat population - and assemblage-level changes for anthropogenic impact assessment

Meyer, Christoph FJ 2014, 'Methodological challenges in monitoring bat population - and assemblage-level changes for anthropogenic impact assessment' , Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 80 (3) , pp. 159-169.

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tRecent years have seen increased attention to bats as an effective bioindicator group for assessingresponses to drivers of global change, which concurrently has led to a revived interest in establish-ing a global bat monitoring network. To be effective and efficient, global-scale monitoring of bats willlargely have to rely on integrating data collected as part of a network of regional monitoring schemes.Herein, I highlight and discuss some of the principal challenges faced in the monitoring of population-and assemblage-level changes of bats, focusing mainly on methodological and statistical issues and theselection of suitable state variables for quantifying regional trends in bat biodiversity. Particularly inthe tropics, where detailed single-species monitoring is challenging due to high species richness, I rec-ommend that monitoring programs focus on tracking changes in species turnover and composition asmore informative measures of anthropogenic impact than species richness. Imperfect species detectionis an important source of variation and uncertainty associated with animal count data. Bat monitoringprograms need to correct for this, most importantly through the use of sampling protocols that rely onstrictly standardized approaches and a well-balanced design, or a posteriori by using appropriate statis-tical models so as to avoid the detection of spurious trends. Multi-species occupancy models that allowfor simultaneous assemblage- and species-level inference about occurrence and detection probabilitiesprovide a suitable analysis framework for monitoring data, and are a comparatively low-cost approachthat should prove useful especially in the regional monitoring of bats in the tropics. To ensure robustinference about temporal and spatial trend estimates in the state variables of interest, the efficacy ofsampling designs should be carefully gauged at the design stage to ensure sufficient statistical power,and data should be collected according to a formal randomized design to allow for regional-scale infer-ence. I stress the importance for long-term bat monitoring programs to have sustained funding, the needto establish trigger points for the application of appropriate mitigation measures, and for monitoring tobe adaptive so as to maximize effectiveness and efficiency based on the data collected. Finally, I arguethat to overcome the challenges associated with initiating monitoring networks in tropical countries –a major step towards the realization of global-scale bat monitoring – reliance on citizen scientists andparticipatory monitoring will be key.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1616-5047
Funders: Conservation International, FCT
Depositing User: Dr Christoph Meyer
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2016 12:10
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2018 21:34

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