Salvador Montiel Ortega, Ph.D.
Organization: CINVESTAV-IPN, Unidad Merida
Location: Los Petenes, Mexico
Research: Diversity of Bat Assemblages in Natural Habitat-islands in the Wetlands of Northwestern Yucatan: Implication for Conservation
This project will investigate the effects of isolation, area and disturbance on bat assemblage, species richness and relative abundance in a naturally fragmented habitat in northwestern Mexico. The study will provide information on bat population sensitivity to fragmentation and disturbance, and also provide information on the state of conservation of the populations and bat species in this area of Mesoamerica.
Project Update: February 2005
Since August 2001, with the support of the Scott Neotropical Fund, a systematic sampling of the bat assemblages present in petenes varying in size and isolating distance has been conducted. During the first sampling year, August 2001 - July 2002, bat assemblages were sampled monthly in eight petenes located in a 640 km² study area. In the second and third sampling years of the project, eight new sampling sites (four per year) were added within the same area following the original sampling design. Thus, in a total of 16 petenes, several mist nets (10-15 mist nets per site, per night) were used to sample bats, and captured bats were banded to allow for follow-up monitoring. This report presents the cumulative results on the project highlighting the data obtained during a third year of field work.
Between October 2003 and December 2004, 17 field sessions were conducted with an average of four participants each. These sessions encompassed at least two scheduled samples for each site during the wet season and two scheduled samples for each site during the dry season. 5800 net-hours were accumulated and 244 bats were captured, representing 13 species. These data have added important information to the inventory of bat species in the petenes bat assemblages. Since 2001, sampling efforts have resulted in an accumulation of 14,000 net-hours (225 nights of sampling; mean=62.2 net hours per night) and in the capture of 1134 bats in the 16 petenes investigated. We found that bat gamma diversity, a measure of overall diversity of different ecosystems within the same reason, was 20 species representing six Families (Emballonuridae, Molossidae, Mormoopidae, Natalidae, Noctilionidae, and Phyllostomidae). The Phyllostomidae was the best represented with 12 species, while the others were represented by 3 or less species. The most abundant species in the total sample were Artibeus jamaicensis, Dermanura phaeotis, andA. intermedius, which together accounted for 75% of all bats captured. The remaining 25% were represented by the other 17 species.