New bat research app

This video is about vampire bats.

From the Zoological Society of London:

Batphone: From baddies to biodiversity

June 24, 2011

Scientists have brought to life the batphone, launching a new smartphone app to monitor the world’s bats.

From Transylvania to Tooting, citizen scientists will be pointing their smartphones to the skies to capture the ultrasonic calls of bats in their local area.

The iBats app has been developed for both the iPhone and Android phones by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in conjunction with the Bat Conservation Trust, Dr. George Roussos of Birkbeck, University of London, and Dr. Adam Talcott of Atomic Powered, USA.

The iBats app will assist a global network of more than 700 volunteer bat-trackers who are part of a global bat monitoring programme called iBats funded by The Darwin Initiative and The Leverhulme Trust.

The handheld technology lightens the load for volunteers who previously had to carry three pieces of recording kit to monitor their local bat species. With the launch of the iBats app, they now only need their smartphone and an ultrasonic microphone.

iBats volunteers are currently recording bat calls in the UK, Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Russia and Japan. The scientists coordinating iBats hope the launch of the iBats app will encourage more people to get involved in the project.

“Bats are like a heart monitor for wildlife. Their presence can tell us a lot about the health of the environment because they have an important role in terms of eating insects and acting as pollinators for many different plant species.

“We hope the iBats app will encourage more people to monitor their local bats and make a contribution to the global conservation of wildlife,” says Dr. Kate Jones, iBats Project Manager from ZSL.

The iBats app is capable of recording the calls of more than 900 species of bats which use echolocation for finding food and navigation. Volunteers will be able to upload recorded calls to the iBats website which uses special software to identify the bats that have been recorded.

The Call of the Panama Bats. Scientist Elisabeth Kalko uses high-tech equipment to track and study the 120 bat species in the region: here.

Rainforest plant developed sonar dish to attract pollinating bats: here.

Herring gull eats 5 live bats; video here.

Three new bat species discovered in Indochina: here.

September 2011: Three new bat species have been discovered in southern Indochina, after research by an international team of scientists led the Hungarian Natural History Museum (HNHM) and Fauna & Flora International(FFI): here.

Young bats learn to hunt by eavesdropping on more experienced bats: here.

ZSL London Zoo’s brand new bat cave: This new exhibit will be opening especially for October half term, and will be home to 16 critically endangered Rodrigues fruit bats: here.

A new bat has just entered the animal kingdom recordbooks. Meet Walston’s tube-nosed bat, named after real batman Joe Walston, who works to save bats and other wildlife in Southeast Asia: here.

A cold-loving fungus is behind an epidemic decimating bat populations in North America: here.

2 thoughts on “New bat research app

  1. Bats thrive in canal’s ‘thin nature reserve’

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    An historic Westcountry waterway is fast becoming a long, thin and vital refuge for wildlife.

    Bats in particular are doing well on the nation’s canals according to the results of British Waterways’ annual Wildlife Survey – and the Taunton-Bridgwater Canal is no exception.

    “There were encouraging sightings of bats, water voles, kingfishers and even the otters that we know are present in the canal,” said Nayna Tarver, a spokesperson for British Waterways, who added that otters and kingfishers had also been spotted.

    “We know that otters and kingfishers are a great sign of a healthy eco-system – there were also birds of prey, including barn owls and buzzards spotted along the Taunton-Bridgwater Canal.”

    The survey, published this week, shows a nine per cent increase in the numbers of bats around canals across the UK – and ecologists believe forecasts for a freezing winter could be further good news for the flying mammals.

    Mark Robinson, British Waterways’ national ecologist, explains: “Bats need a consistently cold place of below five degrees to hibernate. This allows them to slow their metabolism right down, meaning these astonishing creatures take much less frequent breaths and survive on only a few heartbeats a minute.”

    Some ecologists believe bat populations have declined worldwide in recent decades because of climate change. Research carried out on bat fossils found in Australian mines has shown how alterations to the planet’s weather systems have had a negative impact on bat population during previous periods of global warming.

    But one of the biggest issues currently threatening UK wildlife in general is habitat fragmentation – and this includes the loss of broadleaf woodland and unimproved grassland areas. Both happen to be ideal habitats for bats.

    Waterways are vital for the flying mammals because they provide safe, food-rich routes that link otherwise isolated “islands” of woodland and pasture.

    Mr Robinson explained: “Canals are a bit like supermarket shopping aisles for bats and – having spent the autumn using these corridors to travel and feed – bats should by now have stored up as much fat as they can, ready for the cold.

    “Hibernating then allows them to save all this energy for the long winter months when there is little food about. Longer autumns and warm winters trick bats into thinking there’s insects around and they use up valuable energy looking for them, thus risking potential starvation.”

    The builders of the Taunton-Bridgwater Canal could never have known they were actually creating a long thin nature reserve. The waterway was part of an ambitious 19th century plan to create a route between Exeter and Bristol which would avoid the treacherous sea route around Land’s End.

    The trans-peninsula link never materialised, but the 15-mile section that survives today was finished in 1841 and was used mainly for the transporting coal, timber and limestone.


  2. Pingback: Iberian birds’ free app | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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