- Behavioural ecology
- Sensory ecology
- Tropical biology
- Influence of urbanization on species composition and activity patterns
In times of rapid human population growth, accompanied by rampant habitat change knowledge of species potential to tolerate anthropogenically altered environments is essential for conservation efforts. Aerial insectivorous bat species are highly mobile animals and swift flyers which react quickly to changing environmental conditions. So far these species were considered to be less affected by urbanisation than less mobile taxa.
I am using acoustic monitoring to investigate the composition, dynamics and activity of high flying aerial insectivorous bats in Panama. The different acoustic monitoring sites of my current project are distributed along a strong anthropogenic gradient from mature forest to the heavily populated Panama City. On this regional scale I am assessing if species composition and activity of bats differ between sites and how factors as artificial light and insect availability influence the assemblage and species activity patterns. Furthermore I am assessing short-term (e. g., moon phase) and long term (season) effects on abundance and activity patterns of aerial insectivorous bats in mature forest versus urban areas.
Additionally, to pin point factors which are of prime importance for species presence in an anthropogenically influenced region I am focusing at a local scale on a small urban settlement which is surrounded by a large tract of continuous forest. I am especially interested in which species might adapt to possible advantages of anthropogenic influence e.g. street lights which accumulate large amounts of insects or houses which serve as additional roosting sites.