Hibernation Sites and Activity of Bats During Winter

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Umeå universitet/Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap

Sammanfattning: In the temperate region, bats have evolved the strategy of hibernation to survive the harsh winter. During hibernation, bats enter the vulnerable state of torpor that requires specific environmental conditions to function optimally. Bats are known to use caves and anthropogenic structures as hibernation sites. However, the majority of the bat population cannot be accounted for when such structures are surveyed. There is evidence that bats use other natural structures as hibernation sites. To examine bat’s choices of hibernation sites and activity, acoustic monitoring of bats in south-west Sweden was performed during the winter of 2022-2023. Bat activity was measured in areas with potential hibernation sites in natural structures (rock outcrops), as well as inside and outside of known hibernation sites (anthropogenic structures). The level of activity and the ambient temperature were tested for a possible correlation. Additionally, data from 2006-2022 of surveys of bats in hibernation sites were examined for a possible relationship with outside ambient temperature. Bats were found to be active during the winter inside the known sites of hibernation. There was also activity recorded outside one of the known hibernation sites, but no bat activity was found in the areas of potential hibernation sites. No significant correlation was shown between bat activity and outside temperature, nor between number of bats inside a hibernation site and outside temperature. Further research is needed to develop the knowledge about bats’ hibernation behavior which in turn will aid more effective conservation of temperate bat species. 

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