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An automatic sound check for bats

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Identifying bats as they fly by in the darkness of the night – Batscope, the software developed by Ruedi Boesch and Martin Obrist at WSL, can do just that. It analyzes bat calls that have been recorded with special devices (Batloggers). The software breaks down the recordings into individual calls and classifies them to the most likely species, according to a reference database. “It’s based on complex statistical modeling that yields very precise results,” explains Martin Obrist. Obrist and his colleagues used the software to collect data on the bat population for Switzerland’s Red List Chiroptera (bats), published in 2014. It could also help those responsible for monitoring bats to measure local populations, and building developers to evaluate possible threats to bats; for example, from new wind power stations. (Beate Kittl, Diagonal 1/16)