• Until 8th of March: Bat Capital seeks hobby researchers

Be it the greater mouse-eared bat, the brown long-eared bat, the serotine bat or the common noctule – bats feel particularly at home in Berlin. 18 of the 25 species found in Germany, flutter through the capital. Last year, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in Berlin launched a civic science research project to find out why so many bats live in the city and exactly where they move at night. Anyone wishing to take part in the third and final round can apply until 8th of Marcht 2020.      

In the summer twilight you can observe them in many places in Berlin: Bats love wall niches, old street trees, parks, meadows and waters. Not only can they hide well here, they can also find insect food. Berlin with its many old buildings, green spaces, lakes and rivers is therefore a popular habitat for these small, nocturnal creatures that "see" with their ears and fly with their hands: Of the 25 species occurring in Germany, 18 flutter through the capital.

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) now wants to find out exactly where which bats are on the move in Berlin at night by means of a civic science research project. The first field phase of "Fledermausforscher in Berlin"began in May 2019, the second started in August. Bat fans who would like to participate as "civil scientists" can now apply for participation in round three until 8th of March. "We hope that many bat-enthusiastic Berliners will take part again. Perspectively, it would be exciting to investigate how the bat fauna in the city changes over the years," says project manager Miriam Brandt.

Learn more about scientific work and the life of bats

In the context of "Fledermausforscher in Berlin", the participants learn a lot about the life of bats. They become researchers themselves and gain insights into the scientific process - from data collection to evaluation and interpretation of the results. In order to be able to record the ultrasonic calls of the winged mammals on their nightly expeditions, all hobby researchers receivebat detectors. 

The results of the first round were already impressive: more than 350,000 batcallsfrom five reliably identifiable specieswere recorded by Berlin citizen researchers. Among them was, for example, nathusius's pipistrelle, which migrates back and forth every year between the Baltic States in the north-east and south-western Europe. The calls of the „mosquito bat“ soprano pipsistrelle could also be clearly identified. With a body length of around five centimetres and a weight of four to eight grams, it is a real bat mite.

"Fledermausforscher in Berlin" is part of the larger WTimpact civic science project, in the context of which the Leibniz-IZW also has been recording the occurrence of foxes and badgers in Berlin with wildlife cameras since autumn 2018. Citizen Science (CS) is intended to support scientists in obtaining data and information. In turn the participants gain an insight into the respective field of research and scientific work. One project participant summed up her experience as a citizen rearcher as follows: "It was fascinating to hear the bats as they flew by. Without the detector I would not have seen most of the bats at all. I am now thinking about getting a bat detector myself. It was really fun." Berliners who would like to become bat researchers should be able to cover a distance of 2 to 3 kilometres.

The closing date for applications is 8th of March 2020. The number of participants is limited to 60. (vdo) 

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