On the Expedition
Uncover the secrets of Melbourne’s urban dwelling microbats.
Working with Dr Rodney Van Der Ree and PhD student Caroline Wilson, volunteers will help survey bats using harp traps and record ultrasonic bat calls with hand-held bat detectors and GPS equipment.
You will assist in setting up traps shortly before dusk, periodically inspect them during the evening, learn species identification skills and assist with data recording.
You will also have the opportunity to assist in sampling the nocturnal insect fauna using light traps to investigate the diet of urban bats.
Details on the distribution, abundance and diet of bats will be recorded and later analysed in the laboratory by researchers. This information will be used to establish baseline data on the community composition and critical habitat requirements of insectivorous bats across greater Melbourne and ways to better conserve and sustain their populations.
We have a number of fully funded and paid for placements for students that attend public schools. If you fit this criteria please download the application form under the links header. Applications close July 23, 2012
Meals and Accommodations
As teams will be occurring outside of university school term, participants will have the unique experience of staying at the University of Melbourne in Trinity College. Trinity College was founded by the first Anglican Bishop of Melbourne in 1872, and is modelled after the English colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. Trinity has many distinguished alumni and 36 Rhodes Scholars, including Bishop Peter Hollingsworth, Sir Rupert Hamer and Rob Sitch.
Participants will stay at the Behan building and each will have their own room, but will be expected to share bathrooms. All linen and towels will be provided.
All meals are also included- Breakfast will be provided in the Dining Hall. As participants will be working late at night, lunch will be the main meal of the day and will either be served at the Dining Hall, or on some occasions there may be possibilities for a lunch outing. Before leaving for the field in the evenings, food will be provided for participants to prepare a sandwich to be eaten in the field.
About the Research Area
While many Melburnians may be aware of the larger flying-foxes (fruit bats) that inhabit the city’s trees, the majority of people are probably unaware of the existence of insectivorous bats due to their nocturnal habits, lack of audible call and small body size (ranging from the size of a moth to hand size).
Although 16 species of insectivorous bats have been detected across the region, there have been no systematic surveys to quantify their distribution, abundance, habitat requirements or conservation status within urban and suburban areas.
Due to this lack of knowledge the current design and management of cities and towns do not take into account the habitat requirements of insectivorous bats. For example, bats may prefer to roost in hollows in the ends of dead branches. However, these are the very branches that are removed in urban areas due to the injury and property damage risks posed by falling limbs. This research project aims to identify which habitat features are important for bat conservation and will provide local land managers with information to better manage landscapes for the conservation of biodiversity.