Evaluating methods to deter bats
Location: United Kingdom
NERC (CASE) funded PhD project evaluating deterrence methods for bat mitigation and conservation that sits broadly in the field of human-wildlife conflict. The PhD student carrying out this project is Lia Gilmour and she is supervised by Professor Gareth Jones and Dr Marc Holderied at the University of Bristol and Dr Simon Pickering at Ecotricity (the CASE partner for the project). The project has also had funding from the BBSRC Impact Acceleration Award, which allowed the purchase of two thermal imaging cameras for development of a novel bat tracking method to quantify bat activity and behaviour. Lia has also had funding from Funds for Women Graduates (FfWG) and the University of Bristol Alumni fund during her studies.
Many animals are at risk from human activities and structures and mitigation is often put in place to alleviate conflict that arises from humans and wildlife coming into contact with one another (Nyhus, 2016). Deterrence methods are often used to remove animals from areas where they may come to harm or where impacts outweigh the need for them to stay in that area. Bats are at risk from human built structures such as wind turbines and roads (Mathews et al. 2016; Rydell et al. 2016; Foo et al. 2017). Bat deterrence methods are therefore explored in this project as proof-of-concept for mitigation for human activities and structures.
This project aims to evaluate which deterrence methods show potential for UK bats, over what distances they are effective and the mechanism underpinning deterrence in bats. Our experiments have shown that acoustic but not radar deterrents are effective in decreasing bat activity at foraging sites in the UK (Gilmour et al. In prep.). Preliminary results also suggest that an acoustic deterrent may be effective up to about 40 m, with a 60 % reduction in bat activity up to 20 m (Gilmour et al. In prep.). The mechanism for deterrence in bats is also likely due to a masking or jamming effect of their echolocation, precluding their ability to forage (Gilmour et al. In prep.).
Gilmour LRV, Holderied MW, Pickering SPC, Jones G (2020) Comparing acoustic and radar deterrence methods as mitigation measures to reduce human-bat impacts and conservation conflicts. PLoS ONE 15(2): e0228668.
Gilmour, L., Holderied, M. W, Pickering, S. P. C. and Jones, G. In prep. Effectiveness of an acoustic bat deterrent at different distances.
Gilmour, L., Holderied, M. W, Pickering, S. P. C. and Jones, G. In prep. Investigating the mechanism for acoustic deterrence in bats using stereo thermal videogrammetry and acoustic methods.
Professor Gareth Jones
Dr Marc Holderied
Dr Simon Pickering