Article: article from journal or magazin.
Species-specific barrier effects of a motorway on the habitat use of two threatened forest-living bat species
It is generally recognized that roads can adversely affect local animal populations but little is known how roads Effect bats. In particular, no study compared the response of bats that differ in foraging ecology to motorways that cut through the breeding habitat. As bats are key species in conservation, such data are urgently needed for designing management plans. Using radio-telemetry, mist netting, and mark-recapture data we investigated the effects of a motorway with heavy traffic on the habitat use of two threatened forest-living bats. We compared barbastelle bats (Barbastella barbastellus), which forage in open space, to Bechstein's bats (Myods bechsteinii), which glean prey from the vegetation. Five of six radiotracked barbastelle bats crossed the motorway during foraging and roost switching, flying through underpasses and directly over the motorway. In contrast, only three of 34 radiotracked Bechstein's bats crossed the motorway during foraging, all three using an underpass. Bechstein's bats, unlike barbastelle bats, never crossed the motorway during roost switching. Moreover, only in Bechstein's bats individuals foraging close to the motorway had smaller foraging areas than individuals foraging further away, whereas other forest edges had no such effect. Our data show that motorways can restrict habitat accessibility for bats but the effect seems to depend on the species' foraging ecology and wing morphology. We suggest that motorways have stronger barrier effects on bats that forage close to surfaces than on bats that forage in open space, and discuss the implications of our findings for bat conservation during road construction
Barbastella barbastellus, Foraging area, Habitat fragmentation, Myotis bechsteinii, Radio-telemetry, Roost switching
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