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Long-term study shows that increasing body size in response to warmer summers is associated with a higher mortality risk in a long-lived bat species

Citation

Mundinger, Carolin; Scheuerlein, Alexander; Kerth, Gerald (2021), Long-term study shows that increasing body size in response to warmer summers is associated with a higher mortality risk in a long-lived bat species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s7h44j16k

Abstract

Change in body size is one of the universal responses to global warming, with most species becoming smaller. While small size in most species corresponds to low individual fitness, small species typically show high population growth rates in cross-species comparisons. It is unclear, there- fore, how climate-induced changes in body size ultimately affect population persistence. Unravelling the relationship between body size, ambient temperature and individual survival is especially important for the conservation of endangered long-lived mammals such as bats. Using an individual-based 24-year dataset from four free-ranging Bechstein’sbat colonies (Myotis bechsteinii), we show for the first time a link between warmer summer temperatures, larger body sizes and increased mortality risk. Our data reveal a crucial time window in June–July, when juveniles grow to larger body sizes in warmer conditions. Body size is also affected by colony size, with larger colonies raising larger offspring. At the same time, larger bats have higher mortality risks throughout their lives. Our results highlight the importance of understanding the link between warmer weather and body size as a fitness-relevant trait for predicting species-specific extinction risks as consequences of global warming.

Usage Notes

The dataset includes an R-project, four R scripts and all the datasets to run the analyses used in the associated paper:
"Long-term study shows that increasing body size in response to warmer summers is associated with a higher mortality risk in a long-lived bat species"

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: DFG RTG 2010