We have developed a method for the automated classification of bat echolocation calls to species. This allows us to analyze their habitat requirements.
Man strongly influences environmental conditions and habitats for bats. Until the last decade of the past century bat populations were severely affected by these activities. Consequently, many species are listed as endangered or vulnerable, despite the fact that all bat species are protected by law in Switzerland. Present counts at roosts indicate a slow recovery of populations of some species. However, for many species we lack knowledge about their roosting and their nocturnal foraging habits hampers investigating their habitat requirements. This complicates the definitions of protection measures. Science is challenged.
Distribution and habitat requirements of native bats
Scientists at WSL have developed a method for the automated classification of bat echolocation calls to species. This allows now to investigate the habitat requirements bioacoustically and analyze the data with GIS tools. The classification tool has been successfully employed in several additional projects.
Bats echolocate inaudible to humans in the ultrasound range. Whoever wants to localize bats acoustically, needs technical equipment that allows for this kind of observation:
BATLOGGER - a new Swiss high-end bat detector
The BATLOGGER is a recording system for ultrasound bat echolocation calls. It helps considerably in observing bats and identify species. Apart from the acoustic data, each recording also stores additional information like location (GPS) and temperature.
Using BATLOGGERs quickly generates large amounts of recordings. Storing these data consistently is important but also laborious. To alleviate these problems, WSL has programmed the following software:
Batscope and Batecho
BatScope allows to import recordings from BATLOGGERs (and other devices), the structured storage of these data in projects and recording events, visual control of the recordings (spectrograms), and the automated recognition of the calling bat species! When analyzing and verifying the classified acoustic recording, a source of reference signals for acoustic comparison and presenting additional information is very helpful.
BatEcho demonstrates the echolocation calls of bat species native to Switzerland and links to additional information on biology, distribution and red list status of the bat species.