University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

The structure of a micro-bat community in relation to gradients of environmental variation in a tropical urban area

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 05:26 authored by Hourigan, CL, Christopher JohnsonChristopher Johnson, Robson, SKA
We investigated patterns of community structure (species composition, foraging activity, and nightly foraging patterns) of bats in relation to gradients of environmental variation in a tropical urban area. A total of 32 sites spread equally across eight habitat types were sampled in the city of Townsville, North Queensland, Australia. Each site was sampled on 3 non-consecutive occasions using automated AnaBat systems. Eleven species were confidently identified while a possible four more were identified only to the genus level. Ordination of environmental variables measured at these sites identified two distinct environmental gradients reflecting the degree of urbanisation and foliage density. With in- creasing urbanisation there was a decline in species richness and total foraging activity. We used regression trees to characterise foraging preferences of each species. This analysis sug- gested that only one species of Mormopterus was able to exploit the resources provided by urbanisation. This species foraged in areas with higher numbers of white streetlights. The remaining species of bats preferred to forage within close proximity to natural vegetation and with low numbers of streetlights. The density of vegetation in long-established suburbs did not substantially reverse the trend for urban areas to have fewer bat species than original habitats.


Publication title

Urban Ecosystems








School of Natural Sciences


Springer New York LLC

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

The final publication is available at

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Terrestrial biodiversity