Title of symposium:
Novel techniques and emerging findings in tropical bat ecology and conservation

Principal organizer:
Adrià López Baucells
Centre for Ecology Evolution and Environmental Changes, University of Lisbon

Dr. Ricardo Rocha
Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Dr. Alice C. Hughes
Centre for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Science

Symposium Summary
Tropical bats constitute a highly diverse and mobile group, responsible for pivotal ecosystem services such as pollination, seed dispersal and insect suppression. Due to their peculiar ecology, cryptic diversity and mostly nocturnal lifestyle they represent a challenge for research, particularly in species-rich tropical ecosystems. Recently however, several technological advances have allowed valuable new insights into various facets of bat ecology, evolution and conservation. The integration of novel techniques from different fields such as molecular biology, bioacoustics and information science has equipped bat ecologists and conservationists with innovative ways to elucidate bat ecology and thus develop more appropriate conservation strategies in a clearer and more holistic way. In this symposium we will discuss emerging technologies and their integration in tropical bat research. This symposium should interest bat and non-bat ecologists focusing on using new techniques in the field of conservation science such as molecular ecology, meta-barcoding, bioacoustics and bioinformatics. These new techniques have huge potential for enhancing our understanding of species-habitat associations and to allow researchers to address questions thus far beyond reach with traditional methods. As these approaches are evolving rapidly there has been little chance for synthesis, or comparison; consequently, we also provide the time and space to reflect on the potential of these approaches, and to inspire future research which better takes advantage of these technological developments.

List of speakers and presentation titles:

  1. Adrià López Baucells, Optimising acoustic survey protocols for bat research in species-rich tropical forests, University of Lisbon (Portugal)
  2. Irene Conenna, Home range and space use of the yellow-winged bat (Lavia frons) in a tropical desert, Faculty of Biosciences, University of Helsinki (Finland)
  3. Heather Davies, Emerging bat pathogens in Myanmar: road map for surveillance of potential spillover related to cave utilization, George Mason University (USA)
  4. Ellen Mc Arthur, Acoustic Diversity and Activity of Insectivorous Bats in a Riverine Forest at Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysian Borneo