Stefan Greif brought a report on bat surveys of the YUS conservation area of Papua New Guinea to my attention, authored by Simon K.A. Robson, Tamara E. Inkster, Andrew K. Krockenberger.
From the executive summary "This project provides the first description of bat community structure across a complete elevational gradient in Papua New Guinea (from sea-level to 3000m), assembles the largest reference collection of echolocation calls for Papua New Guinean bats (22 species, a valuable tool for species inventory work), and provides species accounts for all 22 microchiropteran (& 4 megachiropteran) bats captured in the YUS Conservation Area"
The main report is attached
From our Facebook page (thanks to Felicia for drawing attention to it)-- news of a new book written by Pandam Nugroho Prasetyo, Sephy Noerfahmy and Hesti Lestari Tata that provides a guide to species (and methods used to catch them) found in two provinces in Sumatra during rapid surveys.
A popular account is here, and more information is here. Unfortunately it can't be downloaded at this time, so if anyone has a soft copy that they can share that'd be great.
Update: thanks for further feedback from Piyawat Khun via our Facebook page-- I've attached a pdf article; still trying to track down the book!
In much of SE Asia, the Kerivoula and Murina forage for insects in dense forest habitats. Using echolocation to detect prey in such "acoustically cluttered" environments is a challenge because of the problems of forward and backward masking. The role of the extremely broad-band, high-frequency FM sweeps in prey detection in these vespertilionid subfamilies was investigated experimentally with wild-caught bats in Peninsular Malaysia, specifically the relationship between bandwidth and backward masking. Based on work on European Myotis we hypothesized that bats should be able to detect prey close to background. All the tested species were able to catch a suspended mealworm as close as 6 cm from a standardized vegetation-like background, and some as close as 2.5 cm. The performance and call data corroborate the hypothesis that bats with very broadband calls and high-frequency components have access to prey very close to vegetation and establish this as a more general principle in bat sensory ecology.
Schmieder, D., Kingston, T., Rosli, H., & Siemers, B. (2012). Sensory constraints on prey detection performance in an ensemble of vespertilionid understorey rainforest bats (Kerivoulinae, Murininae). Functional Ecology 26: 1043-1053. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2012.02024.x
A video designed for the public can be found on the journal web page here http://www.functionalecology.org/view/0/index.html, and the article can be obtained by contacting tigga(dot)kingston(at)ttu(dot)edu
Foraging for insects in the densely cluttered rainforest understory is acoustically challenging; bats must be able to distinguish prey echoes from those returning to them from all the surrounding vegetation. While hipposiderids and rhinolophids use the distinctive acoustic signature of insect wing-flutters to discriminate prey from background, the Kerivoulinae and Murininae use a completely different strategy when foraging in this cluttered environment. It seems that the short duration, low intensity, high frequency, broad bandwidth calls are an adaptation to reduce forward and backward masking, enabling these bats to distinguish prey just a few cm from the background. Daniela Schmieder and colleagues report on a series of experimental studies designed to explore just how close several species of Malaysian Kerivoula and Murina can get to background in Functional Ecology last month.
Schmieder, D. A., Kingston, T., Hashim, R., Siemers, B. M. (2012), Sensory constraints on prey detection performance in an ensemble of vespertilionid understorey rain forest bats. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2012.02024.x
Abstract can be read here. For a pdf, please contact tigga(dot)kingston(at)ttu(dot)edu,
A video explaining the study for a lay audience is here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dQbgC5n7mAI# with a lay summary here http://www.functionalecology.org/view/0/summaries.html#schmieder
The paper is dedicated to our dear friend and colleague Bjoern Siemers, who tragically passed away in May 2012.
I thought this video from Australia on roosting behavior of Kerivoula papuensis (should be Phoniscus papuensis) was interesting -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqawKqjxBXk&feature=youtube_gdata. Worth keeping an eye-out for hanging/woven bird-nests as bat roosts where Phoniscus are found. We have found this once in Malaysia with Phoniscus atrox.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1051363. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).