Modelling bat distributions and diversity in a mountain landscape using focal predictors in ensemble of small models

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State: Public
Version: Final published version
License: CC BY 4.0
Serval ID
serval:BIB_E41F4BD52DE8
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Modelling bat distributions and diversity in a mountain landscape using focal predictors in ensemble of small models
Journal
Diversity and Distributions
Author(s)
Scherrer D., Christe P., Guisan A.
ISSN
1472-4642
ISSN-L
1366-9516
Publication state
Published
Issued date
05/2019
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
25
Number
5
Pages
770-782
Language
english
Abstract
Aim: Bats are important components of mammalian biodiversity, strong bioindicators and potential umbrella species, but their fine scale distributions often remain less known than other taxa (e.g. plants, birds). Yet as highly mobile species with multiple needs in the landscape, bats also impose serious modelling challenges, such as advanced use of neighbourhood analyses. The aims of this study were to test the use of a designed sampling of bats for biodiversity and conservation assessments, and to find appropriate modelling solutions for providing nature practitioners with reliable potential bat distribution maps in a mountain area of high conservation interest.
Location: The western Swiss Alps of Vaud
Methods: We conducted a one-year field survey combining passive acoustic recordings supplemented by mist net catching to collect data on bats. These data were then used to create univariate models with focal land use/cover variables using different focal window sizes to detect the optimal species specific scale of influence for each variable. The large number of selected variables was then used to create ensembles of small models at a 100 m x 100 m resolution, and the resulting habitat suitability maps were transformed into smoothed species distribution maps for practitioners.
Results: We were able to collect sufficient data to model 14 different bat species representing 66% of the Swiss bat diversity, including 4 red list species. In general, the most important variables were Euclidean distance to road or water, temperature and slope, but there was large variation among species both for the variable importance and the optimal focal window size.
Main Conclusion: Our study greatly increased the knowledge of bats in this region and showed that many of the red list species are nowadays disappearing from the intensively used lowland plains and restricted to the remaining forests along the slopes. Additionally, we highlighted the importance of selecting the variable scale on a species specific basis accounting for their mobility and range sizes.

Keywords
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
27/11/2018 22:26
Last modification date
20/08/2019 17:07
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