Woodland bat survey methods for Defra
The aim of this project for Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) was to develop and test new survey methods for rapid and systematic monitoring of bats in woodland habitats.
Over two years, methods were developed to sample woodland for bats using standardised and therefore repeatable acoustic surveys. The project focused on the Myotis species: Alcathoe, Bechstein’s, Brandt’s, Natterer’s and whiskered bats, along with brown long-eared bats and barbastelles. The surveys can be used to determine the presence or absence of a species to improve knowledge of species distributions, and as data accumulate from year to year, they can be used to monitor national, regional or local population trends.
As part of the project, the open source and scientifically robust software, BatClassify, was built. This software is able to automatically and reliably isolate and identify UK bat echolocation calls to species.
We have also run training courses on these methods for CIEEM (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) and other organisations.