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Landscape composition and life‐history traits influence bat movement and space use: Analysis of 30 years of published telemetry data

Citation

Laforge, Alexis; Barbaro, Luc; Archaux, Frédéric (2021), Landscape composition and life‐history traits influence bat movement and space use: Analysis of 30 years of published telemetry data, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qnk98sfhh

Abstract

Using temperate bats, a group of particular conservation concern, we investigated how morphological traits, habitat specialization and environmental variables affect home range sizes and daily foraging movements, using a compilation of 30 years of published bat telemetry data in Northern America and Europe for the period 1988 – 2016.

We compiled data on home range size and mean daily distance between roosts and foraging areas at both colony and individual levels from 166 studies of 3,129 radiotracked individuals of 49 bat species. We calculated multi-scale habitat composition and configuration in the surrounding landscapes of all studied roosts. Using mixed models, we examined the effects of habitat availability and spatial arrangement on bat movements, while accounting for body mass, aspect ratio, wing loading and habitat specialization.

We found a significant effect of landscape composition on home range size and mean daily distance at both colony and individual levels. On average, home ranges were up to 42% smaller in the most habitat-diversified landscapes while mean daily distances were up to 30% shorter in the most forested landscapes. Bat home range size significantly increased with body mass, wing aspect ratio and wing loading, and decreased with habitat specialization.

Methods

We compiled telemetry data from 166 published studies between 1988 and 2019 (see Appendix 1 for a full list of the data sources) for 49 temperate bat species across 3,129 individuals, 22 countries and two continents (119 in Europe and 47 in North America). Our data represent 78% of all European bat species (32 out of 41) and 46% of all North Americans (17 out of 37 species). Studies were identified from the literature using a rigorous, transparent and repeatable protocol (Pullin & Stewart, 2006). We extracted from each study, when available: (i) the Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP), as a metric of bat space use and the most frequently used method to estimate home range size (Harris et al., 1990); and (ii) daily distance traveled between roosts and foraging areas as a metric of bat movement. We then built four different response variables: home range size and daily foraging movement distance at colony level (i.e. mean from all the radio-tracked individuals at each roost) and at individual level. As studies did not systematically report data at both colony and individual levels, it was relevant to evaluate the consistency of our results through these two levels using different data subsets. Data at the colony level included the majority of studies (85%) and species (100%) because authors often documented mean values at that level, while data at the individual level were included in only 59% of the studies and 82% of the species. Sample size (i.e., number of radio-tagged individuals) was reported for each data at colony level. For each home range and distance data, we reported the sex, age and reproductive status of the radio-tracked bats when available.

Usage Notes

The readme file contains an explanation of each of the variables in the dataset, its measurement units

Funding

ANRT CIFRE, Award: 2016/1063