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Data for: Species richness and assemblages of bats along a forest elevational transect in Papua New Guinea

Cite this dataset

Sivault, Elise et al. (2023). Data for: Species richness and assemblages of bats along a forest elevational transect in Papua New Guinea [Dataset]. Dryad.


Over the past decades, elevational gradients have become a powerful tool with which to understand the underlying cause(s) of biodiversity. The Mt. Wilhelm elevational transect is one such example, having been used to study the birds, insects, and plants of Papua New Guinea (PNG). However, a survey of mammals from this forest elevational transect was lacking. We thus aimed to investigate patterns in the community structure and species richness of bats (Chiroptera) along the transect, link the species to available regional data, and explain the observed patterns by including environmental characteristics. Bat assemblages were surveyed between 200 m and a timberline at 3,700 m a.s.l. at eight study sites separated by 500 m in elevation. We conducted mist-netting and acoustic surveys to detect and identify species at each site. Regional data were compiled to compare local with regional diversity. Finally, biotic (i.e., food availability, habitat features) and abiotic (i.e., mean daily temperature) factors were included in our analyses to disentangle the ecological drivers underlying bat diversity. Results revealed that species richness decreases with ascending elevation and was best explained by a corresponding decrease in temperature. We observed both turnover and nestedness of the species composition at regional scale whereas turnover was dominant at local scale. Extensions and shifts of bat elevational ranges were also found in Mt. Wilhelm. Consequently, despite that the study was restricted to one mountain in PNG, it demonstrates how basic inventory surveys can be used to address ecological questions in other similar and undisturbed tropical mountains.


The environmental data comes from measurements conducted in previous surveys (Sam et al. 2019) along the Mt. Wilhelm transect.

The Mt.Wilhelm data compiled all the bat species captured and recorded during this study along the Mt. Wilhelm transect.

The regional data compiled the distribution of the bat species described as present in Central Range and Sepik-Ramu Basin in Bonaccorso (1998).


European Research Council, Award: 805189

Czech Science Foundation, Award: 014/2022/P