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Title: The hibernal ecology of a vespertilionid bat Myotis nattereri : an integrative study
Author: Hope, Paul Richard
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Hibernation occurs in a diverse range of animal species including amphibians, reptiles, insects, mammals and birds. The adaptations that hibernators have evolved to survive winter are of great interest to conservation ecologists. The discovery that hibernators frequently arouse during winter has instigated much research on physiology and behaviour. Hibernation also provides an opportunity to better understand biological rhythms and entrainment to environmental cues. Using an integrative biological approach this study explores some questions important for a better understanding of mammalian hibernation. My aim was to gain insight into how hibernators use torpor during winter in a location with a mild maritime climate and to better understand some of the behavioural adaptations that have evolved to exploit opportunities that arise during winter. The primary study site was Greywell Tunnel, a disused canal tunnel situated on the Basingstoke Canal in Hampshire, England. The tunnel is an important hibernation site for Natterer's bat Myotis nattereri, four other bat species have also been recorded. The bat population using Greywell Tunnel has been monitored since the tunnel's designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1985. Long-term surveillance of bats at hibernation sites is a useful technique for assessing population trends. Findings from winter surveillance surveys conducted at Greywell Tunnel showed that numbers of M nattereri counted appeared to dip then rise over the survey period, while numbers of M daubentonii, M mystacinus and M brandtii appear to have declined significantly at this site. In locations where winter foraging opportunities exist, two strategies (which may not be mutually exclusive) may enable bats to balance winter survival with the ability to exploit foraging or possible mating opportunities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available