The Woodchester Bat Project
What is the Woodchester Bat Project?
There is considerable value in long-term studies of wild animal populations. Ecological processes are complex, convoluted, and long-term in nature. It is only when we collect data over extended periods, across many individuals, that such events can become clear. These data sets are rare but vital for providing information on how wild populations respond to global environmental change.
The population of greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) in Mid-Gloucestershire, UK, is among an exclusive group of intensively-studied species where these robust long-term data are available. Woodchester Mansion, a Grade I listed Victorian house, in the heart of the Cotswolds, is home to the main maternity colony during the summer months. Population numbers in 2011 reached 181 adults, with 91 babies. The mansion's bats have been studied by Dr Roger Ransome since 1959, making it one of the longest continuous studies of a mammal in the world.
Dr Ransome's studies continue to provide unparalleled information towards the conservation of this fascinating species. Ongoing projects now focus on understanding the species' exceptional longevity, and sociobiology.
Listen to this episode of BatChat where Dr Roger Ransome talks about his studies at Woodchester Mansion.