• Brain City Berlin

Until 4th of August: Bat Capital seeks hobby researchers

01.08.2019 | 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. This 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 can apply until 4th of August 2019.      

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, the second will start in August. Bat fans who would like to participate as "civil scientists" can still apply for participation until 4th of August. "We hope that also in the second round many bat-enthusiastic Berliners will take part. For us, the comparison of surveys from different seasons is interesting – in August and September, for example, the mating and migration season of the bats," 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 receive bat detectors

The results of the first round were already impressive: more than 143,000 batcalls were recorded by Berlin citizen researchers. These included calls from 5 reliably identifiable species. 11 other recorded species were divided into acoustic groups, as they could not be clearly distinguished based on their calls. All in all, the recordings showed an impressive diversity of species.   

"Fledermausforscher in Berlin" is part of the larger WTimpact civic science project, which Leibniz-IZW has been carrying out since autumn 2018 in cooperation with other scientific institutions in order to collect environmental data. 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.

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 4th of August 2019. The number of participants is limited to 60. (vdo)