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Update from the Bat Project

After five months ConFoBi for the second group of PhD students it has become winter and all bats have disappeared into their nice chilly hibernation places. This is a perfect time for a little reflection on what happened in the ConFoBi-bat project.
After all new PhD students have arrived and settled in Freiburg, everyone was very busy with writing their project proposals to give our projects the necessary structure for the coming years. Meanwhile, the plans are almost complete for the bat-project’s fieldwork in the next season, and an incredible amount of field material has arrived in the office. The fieldwork will involve acoustic monitoring of bats while parallel sampling (nocturnal) flying insects as well as ground-dwelling beetles, to assess prey availability for bats. With that, we aim to disentangle the influence of forest structures on the activity of insects and bats as well as to understand the trophic interlinkages between the groups along a gradient of forest complexity. As the activity of insects and bats is influenced by local weather conditions, we will also deploy weather stations to measure precipitation, temperature, humidity and wind speed. With this set up we will hopefully rotate over all 135 ConFoBi plots (it is good to start with an ambitious study right at the beginning).

Having quality time for data analyses this winter, I will now look at the effects of landscape connectivity for different bat guilds across spatial scales. There we will evaluate the relative importance of within-vegetation edges and forest gaps for maintaining landscape connectivity and enabling accessibility to local food resources.

by Anna-Lena Hendel (B5)