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Title: Ecological preferences of neotropical cave bats in roost site selection and their implications for conservation
Authors: de Sousa Barros, Jennifer
Bernard, Enrico
Lopes Ferreira, Rodrigo
Keywords: Abiotic variables;Carstic areas;Chiroptera;Landscape ecology;Roost selection
Issue Date: Jun-2020
Abstract: Bats frequently use caves as roosts due to higher environmental stability and protection. However, species-specific ecological and physiological requirements and conditions of roosts and their surroundings can influence species presence. Little is known on cave choice by bats in the Neotropics, a species- and cave-rich region. Understanding how bats, cave characteristics and the surrounding landscape are related with each other helps the management and conservation of bats and caves. Based on sampling 19 caves using both diurnal observations and captures, we tested (1) whether bat richness was positively related to cave temperature, humidity, size, stability, and heterogeneity of microhabitats, and the preservation and heterogeneity of the surrounding landscape in central Brazil; (2) whether cave and landscape characteristics influenced on species composition; (3) how species responded to cave and landscape variables; and (4) whether these relationships changed between seasons. Temperature was a limiting factor, whereas environmental stability, humidity, and structural attributes of caves favored the occurrence of more species. Larger caves, rich in microhabitats – but more stable than the external environment – supported more species, especially in the dry season. Landscape context did not influence species richness and composition in the caves, but the percentage of vegetation around caves was important for certain species. Our results highlight the influence of environmental variables in the process of cave selection by Neotropical bat species. Moreover, we emphasize the importance of cave protection for bats and provide useful information for decision-making in processes of environmental licensing.
metadata.dc.source: Science Direct
metadata.dc.type: Texto publicado em jornal
metadata.dc.totalpage: 10

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