CASCB talk: Scanning the global underground horizon – understanding priorities for cave-dwelling bats in a changing world

  • Date: Jul 12, 2021
  • Time: 11:45 - 12:46
  • Location: online
  • Host: Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour
  • Contact:
CASCB talk: Scanning the global underground horizon – understanding priorities for cave-dwelling bats in a changing world

This event is part of an event series „CASCB Seminar Series“.
Join Zoom meeting: Meeting-ID: 939 1844 2764

Research and conservation interventions are disproportionately focused on taxa perceived as charismatic, while other systems with high levels of endemism, and often underprotected such as caves and subterranean ecosystems, remain neglected. Bats are keystone to cave ecosystems making them ideal surrogates to understand diversity patterns and assay conservation priorities. Using a novel framework, we assessed and mapped the global bat cave vulnerabilities and priorities at the biome and site level. Almost half (N = 678, 48%) of bat species across the world regularly use caves, with 32% endemic to a single country, and 15% currently threatened with extinction. Tropical realms and small-ranged species faced the highest levels of risk. Our analyses consistently showed that most caves with lower threat levels show higher cave biotic potential (i.e., evolutionary distinctiveness and endemism), though this may be due to the loss of species from more disturbed caves. We estimate that 3% to 28% are high-priority caves for conservation in broad-scale (biome level) and fine-scale (site-dependent) analyses respectively. Amongst regions, the highest concentration of conservation priority areas are in the Palearctic and tropical regions (except Afrotropical), which requires more intensive data sampling. Our results further highlight the importance of prioritising bat caves at local scales but show that broader scale analysis is possible if robust cave data is present and effective parameters are included (i.e., appropriate landscape features and threats). Developing priorities for these systems requires more systematic approaches as a standard measure to develop the priorities needed to maintain cave diversity.

Vishwanath Varma is a Postdoctoral researcher working at the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz. His interests include timing of behaviour, individual variation, social interactions, and group performance of ecologically relevant tasks. He is currently attempting to understand how animals coordinate their movements while foraging in complex environments.

Krizler C Tanalgo is a Zukunftskolleg Fellow at University of Konstanz, and at the Cluster for Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour. He completed his PhD at the Landscape Ecology Group, Centre for the Integrative Conservation in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), as well as in the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of CAS. He is interested in exploring how conservation will be made easy and accessible for scientists and policy-makes in the Anthropocene. His current research focuses on developing conservation priorities to protect bats and their habitats in the tropics and across the world, by integrating species diversity, landscape features, and anthropogenic threats. These include creating methods, assessing gaps, and examining existing policies.

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