Influence of Urbanization on Demography of Little Brown Bats Myotis lucifugus in the Prairies of North AmericaReportar como inadecuado

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We address three key gaps in research on urban wildlife ecology: insufficient attention to 1 grassland biomes, 2 individual- and population-level effects, and 3 vertebrates other than birds. We hypothesized that urbanization in the North American Prairies, by increasing habitat complexity via the proliferation of vertical structures such as trees and buildings, thereby enhancing the availability of day-roosts, tree cover, and insects, would benefit synanthropic bats, resulting in increased fitness among urban individuals.

Methodology-Principal Findings

Over three years, we captured more than 1,600 little brown bats Myotis lucifugus in urban and non-urban riparian sites in and around Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This species dominated bat assemblages throughout our study area, but nowhere more so than in the city. Our data did not support most of our specific predictions. Increased numbers of urban bats did not reflect urbanization-related benefits such as enhanced body condition, reproductive rates, or successful production of juveniles. Instead, bats did best in the transition zone situated between strictly urban and rural areas.


We reject our hypothesis and explore various explanations. One possibility is that urban and rural M. lucifugus exhibit increased use of anthropogenic roosts, as opposed to natural ones, leading to larger maternity colonies and higher population densities and, in turn, increased competition for insect prey. Other possibilities include increased stress, disease transmission and-or impacts of noise on urban bats. Whatever the proximate cause, the combination of greater bat population density with decreased body condition and production of juveniles indicates that Calgary does not represent a population source for Prairie bats. We studied a highly synanthropic species in a system where it could reasonably be expected to respond positively to urbanization, but failed to observe any apparent benefits at the individual level, leading us to propose that urban development may be universally detrimental to bats.

Autor: Joanna L. Coleman , Robert M. R. Barclay



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