Identification of the effect of environmental factors associated with the distance from the road infrastructure on bats

Image Credit: Danny Zurc

Written by Danny Zurc, Juan Carlos Jaramillo-Fayad, Antonio Guillén-Servent, Jordi Viñas, Jorge Antonio Mejía, Mauricio Corredor

March 21, 2023

Road Ecology (EC), proposed by Forman, raises the need to estimate the area ecologically affected by the road system, or “road effect zone”, which directly or indirectly affects organisms affecting ecosystems. Responding to this, various studies have been oriented to report the run over rate of different organisms that are victims of collisions (e.g. Kopali et al., 2013; Kiros et al., 2016; Tejera et al., 2018); Other studies have reported that roads cause a barrier effect (Rico et al., 2017), an edge effect (Goosem, 2007), among others. Specifically in countries like Germany, species of bats have been found that, due to the edge effect produced by roads, do not cross the road line (Kerth & Melber, 2009). In Colombia, some studies have reported running over wildlife (De La Ossa-Nadjar and De La Ossa, 2013; Montenegro, 2018; among others). However, no studies have been carried out to estimate the area of road effect.

Therefore, a research work is currently being developed with the objective of identifying the effect of environmental factors associated with the distance from the road infrastructure on bats. This study is carried out in the inter-Andean valley of the Tropical Dry Forest (Bs-T) zonobiome, of the Cauca River, department of Antioquia (Colombia), in areas of influence of the highways “Autopista Conexión Pacífico 2 y 3”. As a methodology for the registration of species of these flying mammals, mist nets are being used, and acoustic detection from the use of passive detection equipment. As a result, 485 bats have been found using mist nets, representing three families, 13 genera and 19 species, from the trophic, frugivorous, hematophagous, insectivorous and nectarivorous guilds. The researchers are conducting analyzes of functional diversity and epigenetic marks that can be associated with environmental factors, in order to achieve the general objective of the research.

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