Variability and repeatability of noctule bat migration in Central Europe: evidence for partial and differential migration

Linn S. Lehnert , Stephanie Kramer-Schadt , Tobias Teige , Uwe Hoffmeister , Ana Popa-Lisseanu , Fabio Bontadina , Mateusz Ciechanowski , Dina K. N. Dechmann , Kseniia Kravchenko , Priemoz Presetnik , Martin Starrach , Michael Straube , Ulrich Zoephel , Christian C. Voigt


Each year, large numbers of bats move across Europe between their summer and winter areas, yet even though many of them are endangered and legally protected, we are unaware about many aspects of their migratory behaviour. Here, taking Nyctalus noctula as a model species, we used stable hydrogen isotopic values in fur (d2Hf) as an endogenous marker to shed light on the migratory behaviour of more than 1000 bats from hibernacula across Central Europe. Specifically, we asked the following questions: how flexible is migration in temperate zone bats?Which generalmigration pattern do noctule bats follow? How repeatable and thus predictable is the migratory behaviour of individuals? Do morphological correlates of migration occur in bats? Our study confirmed that noctule bats engage in partial and female-biased migration across Europe, suggesting the strongest migration pressures for northern populations. Further, we revealed a combination of partial and differential migration patterns with highly variable migration distances which lead to a pronounced mixing of different source populations in hibernacula where mating occurs. Most individuals were consistent in their migration strategy over time, i.e. 86% could be repeatedly assigned to either long-distance or regional origin across years. This is consistent with our finding that the between-individual component explained 84% of the variation in d2Hf values, suggesting specialized individual migratory behaviours and a strong natal philopatry. We discovered a positive correlation between forearm length and migration distance and support for sex-specific effects of migration on body condition. Our study elucidated migration patterns over large geographical scales, demonstrating that considerable numbers of migratory bats originating from distant populations depend on hibernacula across Central Europe, calling for international conservation management.
Author Linn S. Lehnert
Linn S. Lehnert,,
, Stephanie Kramer-Schadt
Stephanie Kramer-Schadt,,
, Tobias Teige
Tobias Teige,,
, Uwe Hoffmeister
Uwe Hoffmeister,,
, Ana Popa-Lisseanu
Ana Popa-Lisseanu,,
, Fabio Bontadina
Fabio Bontadina,,
, Mateusz Ciechanowski (FB / DVEZ)
Mateusz Ciechanowski,,
- Department of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology
, Dina K. N. Dechmann
Dina K. N. Dechmann,,
, Kseniia Kravchenko
Kseniia Kravchenko,,
, Priemoz Presetnik
Priemoz Presetnik,,
et al.`
Journal seriesProceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.5
ASJC Classification1100 General Agricultural and Biological Sciences; 2300 General Environmental Science; 2400 General Immunology and Microbiology; 1300 General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; 2700 General Medicine
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)40
ScoreMinisterial score = 40.0, 30-09-2019, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.474; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 4.847 (2) - 2017=5.611 (5)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.