Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Unique high-resolution map on bat diversity in Africa

Date:January 5, 2016
Source:University of Twente

Researchers of the ITC Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente have developed a unique map of all 250 African bat species on a high-resolution scale (1 km2). There are very few examples of biodiversity richness based on quantitative data at a continental scale, especially for challenging guilds like bats. The findings of the research are presented in the January edition of the scientific journal Ecological Modelling.

The researchers have created state-of-the-art species distribution models (SDMs) for a large taxonomic group and demonstrated that by stacking these, a plausible model of fine-grained continental species diversity and endemism patterns can be obtained despite often scarce and biased occurrence data (the so-called 'Wallacean shortfall'). Very few such studies have hitherto been published that cover a large and complete taxonomic group with fine resolution at continental extent.

Bats in Africa
Bats are the second-most species-rich mammal group numbering more than 1270 species globally. Knowledge of their geographic distributions and diversity patterns however is very limited -- possibly the poorest among mammals -- mainly due to their nocturnal and volant life history, and challenging fieldwork conditions in the tropics where most bat species occur.

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