The director of the team, Mr Joxerra Aihartza, took the first steps when he began drawing up a complete atlas of the distribution of bat species in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (CAV-EAE). There are now nine biologists on the team.
As Mr Egoitz Salsamendi, member of the team, explained, they took Mr Aihartza’s research as the starting point and, “from then on, the group specialised in analysing the choice of habitat and diet”. To this end, they mainly used radio-telemetry. “We have highly specialised radio transmitters – they have to be very small in order to attach them to the animals. When the transmitters are attached, we release the bats back into the cave and, when the next night they begin feeding, we can monitor them. In this way we know when and to what extent they move and what they feed on”.Long-fingered bats partial to fish
They thus showed that this species of bat eat fish but, as Joxerra Aihartza himself explained, it was needed to show that it was the bats themselves who were catching the fish: “We controlled their movements for a number of days using a tent where we had left fish and we observed that they did, in fact, catch live fish”. Their staple diet are the insects inhabiting the surface of the water, “but there is an ecological reason that explains this fishing behaviour: when the pools of water in a cave start drying up, the fish concentrate at their surface and they are easy to catch”, added Mr Salsamendi. Ostaizka Aizpurua, member of the team, has begun to write a PhD thesis on the species.Necessity for caves and suitable habitats
The biologist also underlined that the habitat is a fundamental factor, given that bats need a great variety and quantity of insects.
In this sense, Mr Aihartza pointed out that pine tree management and the use of pesticides such as Dimilin cause considerable damage, and not only affect the conservation of the bats: “Bats are very good indicators of the state of health of habitats. A prosperous habitat provides refuge to a prosperous community of bats. The protection of bats guarantees the protection of the habitat - each needs the other”.
In relation to this, and as requested by government bodies, the team carried out a number of management plans, but Mr Aihartza states that no notice has been taken of them: “The species continue as bad as before, or even worse, and this is our main concern”.Investigating virology
Mr Aihartza also mentioned “a large-scale project” for the coming years: “According to data revealed in recent years, a number of diseases have appeared in bats that substantially affect humans. For example, bats could be carriers of the African Ebola virus”. Thus, they are also studying, in conjunction with other teams, the virology of bats.
Amaia Portugal | EurekAlert!
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology