Thursday, 4 July 2013

Maps offer insight into UK bat distribution

By Mark Kinver, Environment reporter, BBC News

Until recently, it was not possible to accurately distinguish many species' echolocation calls
More than 15,000 bat recordings in the Lake District have helped researchers produce the first detailed, large-scale bat distribution maps in a UK region.

The team said it could help planners understand how developments could have an impact on bats, which are protected.

Bats, which can live for 20 years or more, are considered to offer an effective indication of the general health of an area's wider environment.

"Once we had the maps, rather than just the raw data inputs, it told us a great deal about the bats," explained co-author Chloe Bellamy from the University of Leeds.

"It told us about the distribution across the (Lake District) National Park and we found out some things about species that we did not really know.

"For example, there is a big, fast-flying bat called the noctule and we did not know that it tended to avoid high altitudinal areas (250m above sea level or higher).

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