Nest boxes do not cause a shift in bat community composition in an urbanised landscape
Stephen R Griffiths, Linda F Lumsden, Kylie A Robert, Pia E Lentini
Scientific Reports | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2020
Nest boxes are often used to provide supplementary roosts for cavity-dependent wildlife, but little is known about if they influence faunal community composition. Long-term monitoring of bat boxes in south-eastern Australia indicated that their use was dominated by one generalist species (Chalinolobus gouldii), causing concern that installing bat boxes could cause a shift toward less diverse bat communities. To test this, we conducted a large-scale before-after control-impact experiment at 18 sites, over five years. Sites were either: (1) those with existing bat boxes, (2) those where boxes were added during the study, or (3) controls without boxes. We used echolocation call data from 9035 b..View full abstract
Awarded by ARC
We thank Robert Bender, Lisa Godinho, Robert Irvine, Danielle Eastick, Casey Visintin, Emmi van Harten, Catherine Payne, Melissa Walker, Alicia Dimovski and Kristin Semmens for their assistance during fieldwork, plus the many volunteers who have generously contributed their time during bat box checks. Phoebe Macak and Andrew Bennett provided useful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. This study was funded by the Parks Victoria Research Partners Panel (grant to SRG and KAR), the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (grant to SRG), the Wettenhall Environment Trust (grant to SRG and the Friends of Organ Pipes National Park), the M.A. Ingram Trust (grant to SRG), and with support from the Victorian Government. SRG was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. PEL is supported by ARC Linkage Project LP160100439.