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Title: Niche partitioning in Great British bats through dietary specialisation
Author: Ware, Roselyn
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 8880
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Bats are vital to Great British biodiversity; they are the primary consumers of nocturnal insects, disperse nutrients across landscapes, and are excellent bioindicators of an ecosystem’s health. The diversity of bat species in the UK is thought to be as a result of extensive resource partitioning. There are numerous methods used for studying bat diets, each with benefits and drawbacks. Past research has compared small numbers of species at a time, making inter-species comparisons difficult. Our large repository of bat guano samples, collected from around the UK, has allowed us to study the bat species under one methodological ‘umbrella’. This thesis is divided into 7 chapters. This first chapter gives a broad overview of the project, framing this research and provides an overview of the technologies available, and how their development has enabled environmental research on a scale, which, until recently, would have been unimaginable. The second chapter is a meta-analysis of the literature that pertains to bat diets. These data will be used to inform the design of primers in the barcoding stages of the project. Next is a shotgun metagenomic analysis of a selection of guano samples from across the range of the UK species. This method provides information, not only about diet species, but also about the bat, viral, and bacterial DNA. Analyses of this data show that there are several dietary forms seen between the species. The fourth chapter is a targeted amplicons metagenome study of the mitochondrial COI barcode region from the arthropod species identified in the literature review, and from metagenomic data-set. This provides a greater resolution picture of the diet species present. Analyses of these data use phylogenetic intersection analysis to ensure the robustness of the taxonomic assignments in the face of the patchy databases available. In the fifth chapter, I draw together the data gathered using the different approaches and presented in the previous chapters. I discuss the efficacy of the methods, and assess the role of resource partitioning in bat species co-existence. The sixth section will look at the appropriateness of using guano morphology as a diagnostic of species presence. Finally, in chapter seven, I summarise these data in the wider context of bat ecology, comment on the implications of the research for conservation, and discuss potential directions for the field in the light of this research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council ; Ecowarwicker Ecological Forensics
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QL Zoology