A Triple-Isotope Approach to Predict the Breeding Origins of European Bats

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Popa-Lisseanu, Ana G.; Soergel, Karin; Luckner, Anja; Wassenaar, Leonard I.; Ibanez, Carlos et al.: A Triple-Isotope Approach to Predict the Breeding Origins of European Bats. In: PloS ONE 7 (2012), Nr. 1, e30388. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0030388

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To cite the version in the repository, please use this identifier: https://doi.org/10.15488/294

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Despite a commitment by the European Union to protect its migratory bat populations, conservation efforts are hindered by a poor understanding of bat migratory strategies and connectivity between breeding and wintering grounds. Traditional methods like mark-recapture are ineffective to study broad-scale bat migratory patterns. Stable hydrogen isotopes (delta D) have been proven useful in establishing spatial migratory connectivity of animal populations. Before applying this tool, the method was calibrated using bat samples of known origin. Here we established the potential of delta D as a robust geographical tracer of breeding origins of European bats by measuring delta D in hair of five sedentary bat species from 45 locations throughout Europe. The delta D of bat hair strongly correlated with well-established spatial isotopic patterns in mean annual precipitation in Europe, and therefore was highly correlated with latitude. We calculated a linear mixed-effects model, with species as random effect, linking delta D of bat hair to precipitation delta D of the areas of hair growth. This model can be used to predict breeding origins of European migrating bats. We used delta C-13 and delta N-15 to discriminate among potential origins of bats, and found that these isotopes can be used as variables to further refine origin predictions. A triple-isotope approach could thereby pinpoint populations or subpopulations that have distinct origins. Our results further corroborated stable isotope analysis as a powerful method to delineate animal migrations in Europe.
License of this version: CC BY 4.0 Unported
Document Type: article
Publishing status: publishedVersion
Issue Date: 2012-01-23
Appears in Collections:Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät

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1 image of flag of Germany Germany 186 90.29%
2 image of flag of United States United States 8 3.88%
3 image of flag of Vietnam Vietnam 3 1.46%
4 image of flag of China China 3 1.46%
5 image of flag of Russian Federation Russian Federation 1 0.49%
6 image of flag of New Zealand New Zealand 1 0.49%
7 image of flag of Japan Japan 1 0.49%
8 image of flag of Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of 1 0.49%
9 image of flag of Finland Finland 1 0.49%
10 image of flag of Brazil Brazil 1 0.49%

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