The objective of the temperature monitoring in a colony of Natterer’s bats is to discover more about the conditions found in natural habitats, with a view to providing suitable artificial units.
Bats are among the most fascinating British wild animals, but
during the last century populations suffered severe declines. Many
groups and individuals are working to secure the future of bats,
and ongoing research is a part of this process.
Two independent bat workers, Brian and Patty Briggs, have been
using Tinytag data
loggers to monitor a colony of bats for many years in a listed
timber framed barn which was restored in 1987. The objective of the
monitoring is to investigate the roosting requirements of a colony
of Natterer's bats that use many roosting sites within the same
building. The aim is to discover if artificial roost sites can
mimic the conditions found in the natural roosting sites, and to
see if the bats will use artificial units.
The researchers are using two Tinytag Plus 2 temperature
loggers with probes that go inside two different mortise joints
in the barn that the bats use throughout the summer. Subtle
temperature fluctuations within the mortise joints allow a fairly
accurate inference of bat usage on an hourly basis. It is possible
to tell when the bats leave to feed and return to the roost.
Two loggers set on top of a tie beam within the barn also record
and humidity. The results of the monitoring will be used in
ongoing work to design and trial an artificial unit: a large,
multi-chambered heated bat box with internal video monitoring using
infra red light.
Other Bat Groups have previously used Tinytag data loggers, and
they have been found to be safe to use within a bat roost.
Bat researcher Patty Briggs comments, "Gemini has always been
extremely helpful in giving advice on the use of Tinytag data
loggers in different projects. The recordings we have taken have
allowed us to make extremely useful comparisons of data day to day
and year to year, and the software is very easy to use."