Winners and losers in an urban bat community: a case study from southeastern Europe
More details
Hide details
University of Patras
Ove Arup & Partners Ltd
University of Ioannina
Online publication date: 2019-11-26
Publication date: 2019-11-26
Corresponding author
Olga Tzortzakaki   

University of Patras
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2019;30(2):134-140
Increasing urbanisation is reported to have significant effects on bat communities, due to habitat modifications, light and noise pollution and reduced prey availability. Recent studies have indicated that species show varying responses to urbanisation, with a few able to exploit man-made structures and adjust to the new environmental conditions. This study aimed to identify how landscape composition influences bat diversity and community structure along the urbanisation gradient in a coastal Mediterranean city (Patras, Greece) and whether particular species benefit from the novel conditions. We conducted acoustic surveys along 45 transects during the post-breeding season for two years. The effect of land cover, the number of streetlamps (a proxy of artificial illumination), the presence of water bodies and weather conditions on bat activity, and community structure were investigated using Generalized Linear Mixed Models, and multivariate statistics respectively. Eight bat species and five species groups were identified. Bat communities were affected by urbanisation in general and diversity was low in the entire study area. The community was dominated by the synurbic species Pipistrellus kuhlii, which comprised more than 70% of the total bat activity recorded. A positive relationship between built-up areas and bat activity was found, probably because P. kuhlii usually forages around streetlamps in urban areas. In contrast, vegetation cover did not affect bat activity, even in the less urbanised areas. The remainder of the bat species were not frequently recorded and were mostly detected close to water bodies, highlighting their value for foraging bats and the need for their conservation.
We would like to thank Prof. Athanassios Argiriou from the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics of the University of Patras for kindly providing the meteorological data. We are grateful to Robert Nudds for improving and proofreading an earlier version of the manuscript, as well as to Christina Kassara for statistical support. George Iliopoulos, Dimitris Papandropoulos and Philippos Katsigiannis supported the first author during field work and provided important information about the study area. Two anonymous reviewers provided constructive comments, which largely contributed to improving the final version of the manuscript.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top