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Bat Group Bulletin No. 150

Bat Group Bulletin No. 150: 23 November 2017

  1. The 25 Genomes Project – Voting Now Open!
  2. Conservation of Habitats & Species Regulations 2017
  3. Bats in Churches Questionnaire – deadline next week
  4. Bats & Culverts – Call for Information
  5. Vincent Weir Scientific Award Winner 2017
  6. Kate Barlow Award 2018 – Closing Date 4th December
  7. Channel Islands Bat Workshop
  8. Back from the Brink Update
  9. Tropical Bat PhD Projects
  10. Help Wanted Caring for Flying Foxes in Australia
  11. NBMP Data Reminder
  12. Bat Research Papers & Reports
  13. Key Dates for Your Diary

1. The 25 Genomes Project – Voting Now Open!

Help us get the genomes of the Daubenton’s bat and barbastelle sequenced as part of the Wellcome Sanger Institute 25th anniversary celebrations.

Understanding the genome of bats could help scientists better understand their adaptations and behaviours, and how that can influence conservation efforts across the UK. Your vote is needed to ensure the DNA of bat species gets decoded next, by the world leading genomics researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

In celebration of its 25th Anniversary, the Institute are going to fully decode the DNA of 25 UK species that have never been decoded before… and your votes will decide five of them!

From 6th November to 8th December, over 40 species represented by scientists and wildlife experts will be online. Species are being championed in 5 zones, with just one winner in each: Cryptic, Dangerous, Floundering, Flourishing, and Iconic. The good news is the two bat species are in different zones – the Daubenton’s bat is in the ‘dangerous’ zone (NOT our choice!) and the barbastelle is in the ‘floundering’ zone – so you can vote for both of them! In each zone, the species with the most votes at the end of five weeks will be fully unravelled by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Have your say, visit the website and please vote for the two bats!

No bats will be harmed in order to gather the genetic material for sequencing. For the Daubenton’s bat animals submitted to the Animal & Plant Health Agency passive surveillance scheme will be used.

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2. Conservation of Habitats & Species Regulations 2017

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 transpose the EU Habitats Directive and certain aspects of the Wild Birds Directive into UK law in England and Wales and provide a substantial part of the legislation protecting bats.

It is good practice for legislation to be consolidated after three amendments. The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations have been amended ten times since they were last consolidated in 2010! An exercise has therefore been undertaken by Government to consolidate the regulations, which aims to aid their usability and make them easier to follow as all amendments made to the regulations have been incorporated into a single set of new 2017 regulations. This exercise has not changed existing policies and procedures, it simply ensures the statute book is up-to-date.

However, the numbering of certain provisions within the regulations has changed.

The 2017 regulations will transpose the Habitats Directive and elements of the Wild Birds Directive into UK law. The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 extend to England and Wales (including the inshore marine area) and have a limited extent in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 were laid before the National Assembly for Wales and the UK Parliament on 1 November and will come into force on 30 November.

From 30 November, all references, for example in guidance documents and reports, to the ‘Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010’ should be replaced with the ‘Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017’. We will be updating electronic version of relevant BCT documentation over the coming weeks but please bear in mind these changes when using any pre-existing printed materials.

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3. Bats in Churches Questionnaire

A message from the HLF Bats in Churches partnership project team (BiC) with a reminder that the 30th of November is the last day to complete their volunteer consultation questionnaire on helping historic & natural heritage.

The team at Bats in Churches want to hear your experiences of getting involved with bats, churches, or any other natural environment or heritage projects. So, we’d appreciate your spending a few minutes to share your thoughts in our questionnaire, or sharing it with your contacts. The results will help us develop the Bats in Churches Project, particularly its work with volunteers, as we prepare our plans for the next five years.

The questionnaire takes at least 10 mins to complete, It also has an optional section for people to express interest in volunteering for the Bats in Churches project in the future (but you can skip past this bit).

Complete the Bats in Churches questionnaire online. Please complete this survey by 30th November 2017.

Also, the questionnaire for people who do work primarily with historic buildings (including churches) that have bat roosts can be found online.    

And a big thank you to everyone who has already contributed to the questionnaire. We hope to provide feedback as soon as possible after the results have been analysed.

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4. Bats & Culverts – Call for Information

The Environment Agency are looking to produce some internal guidance on bats and culverts and are looking for examples of bat roosts in culverts to inform this.

They would like to know if you are aware of any bat roosts in culverts including the species, numbers, roost type, time of year bats present, height of culvert, length of culvert, construction materials and frequency of flooding/hydrological regime. They are also keen to know the key factors you use to assess the suitability of culverts for bats and what type of surveys and survey effort you have employed to establish presence or absence.

If you have any information that you are willing to share please email Jan Collins, Head of Biodiversity at BCT.

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5. Vincent Weir Scientific Award Winner 2017

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2017 Vincent Weir Scientific Award was Jeremy Froidevaux of the University of Bristol. Jeremy was presented with the award at the Scottish Bat Conference last weekend. More information about Jeremy’s work and the award itself can be found in the BCT website.

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6. Kate Barlow Award 2018 – Closing Date 4th December

We announced in last month’s Bulletin that applications to the 2018 Kate Barlow award were open and this month we just want to remind you that the closing date is 5pm GMT on 4th December 2017.

The Kate Barlow Award aims to encourage the next generation of bat researchers by providing a substantive contribution towards the research costs of postgraduate students undertaking research that will benefit bat conservation, in honour of the late Dr Kate Barlow’s contribution to bat conservation.

The application form and guidance notes can be found on the BCT website.

To apply, a completed application form together with two letters of recommendation should be emailed to Charlotte Hawkins by 5pm GMT on 4th December 2017.

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7. Channel Islands Bat Workshop

Annyctalus Ecology and the Guernsey Bat Section are teaming up to organise a Channel Islands Bat Workshop for July 2018 and they need your help!

This will be a one or two day event with a mixture of theory and practical workshops during the day and a research trapping session during the evening.

There is a very limited pool of skilled but workers across the Channel Islands and consequently there is very limited knowledge of what bat species are present and their status. In Jersey four new bat species for the island have been discovered in the last three years, since advanced survey techniques have begun to be used and there is the potential for the same to happen in Guernsey!

The organisers are looking for workshop leaders for sound analysis (Analook and kaleidoscope), bat identification, harp trap and mist net set-up, radio tracking, bat care, basic survey techniques etc. as well as licenced bat workers to bring equipment and help to lead the evening trapping session.

If you are interested in getting involved please email Ani Binet with your name, contact details, skill and experience level, including any licences held, and areas of interest.

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8. Back from the Brink Update

Earlier this year Back from the Brink, a multi-taxa project, was awarded funding of £4.6 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Led by Natural England and involving seven leading UK conservation organisations, this national partnership will work on preventing the extinction of 20 species and improving the conservation prospects of 200 other threatened species in England.

Seven integrated projects and 12 single species projects will be delivered across England and work on each individual project is now underway and will continue until 2020/2021. BCT are involved with four integrated projects and one single species project:

  • Single Species Project - Grey long-eared bat (Devon)
  • Roots of Rockingham (Woodland)
  • Ancients of the Future (Deadwood)
  • Adding Diversity to Dorset Heath
  • Limestone’s Living Legacies (Cotswolds)

For more information check out the new Back from the Brink website and the summary document (pdf format), which includes links to individual projects.

Over the winter months, BCT will be working with the project partners to put together a programme of habitat management, training workshops for landowners and land managers, outreach events for the public and training and monitoring for volunteers. We are now in the process of re-establishing contact with bat groups in the areas covered by the integrated projects, to discuss our plans and ensure the work carried out will complement your work. If you have any queries, or you would like to know more about the project, or you have any bat records that you are happy to share with us, then please get in contact with the appropriate member of staff, whose details are included in the brief information about each project in the attached document.  

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9. Tropical Bat PhD Projects

We’ve been informed of three PhD projects researching tropical bat species:

  1. Biodiversity and ecosystem services: Birds, bats, bees, and cocoa trees 
  2. Does habitat specialisation increase vulnerability to global environmental changes? Assessing the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on bats in Malawi. 
  3. Monitoring responses of tropical vertebrates to land-use change using acoustic technologies 

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10. Help Wanted Caring for Flying Foxes in Australia

We have received a request from the Daintree Wildlife Rescue in North Queensland, Australia. They are on the www.helpx.net web pages (host no: 49549) and are asking for helpers to assist them with caring for Flying Foxes (Spectacled and Little Reds). If anyone has plans to travel to their part of the world they can put you up in in a private cabin in the Rainforest and just ask for help in cleaning the bat cages, chopping fruit and early evening feeding in exchange. They provide full facilities, but do not provide meals. The accommodation is free.  For more details see online.

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11. NBMP Data Reminder

If you took part in surveys for the National Bat Monitoring Programme over the course of 2017 then please do check that you have submitted all of your data to us. If you haven't, the quickest and easiest way to submit your data is to do it online. If you aren't able to submit your results through the online form then you can post them back to the NBMP team at BCT (see below for the Bat Towers address).

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12. Bat Research Papers & Reports

Please note we normally only include bat related articles, reports and blogs in this section where they are available to read online or to download without charge. Exceptionally we do include details of papers or other items where we think they will be of particular interest but where only abstracts or summary information is available, but we will include a note of that in the text about the article (the acoustic mirrors paper below is such a case). For more information about how to access journal papers see the BCT website.

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13.  Key Dates for Your Diary

Watch this space for dates and reminders of conferences and other events you may be interested in. Please don’t forget you can get some extra publicity for your events by adding the details to the BCT website.

BCT Events

  • 24 February 2018 – National Bat Care Conference. **SAVE THE DATE** More details of this event are to follow but it is being organised jointly with Maggie Brown of the West Yorkshire Bat Hospital & Bat Care News, and BCT. If you have any suggestions for the day’s programme please email Maggie. 
  • 17 March 2018 – East of England Bat Conference. **SAVE THE DATE** More details of this event are to follow but if you have any suggestions for a location or content for the day please email Naomi Webster, BCT’s Training & Conferences Manager
  • 14 April 2018 – Wales Bat Workers Day, MRC Llandrindod Wells. **SAVE THE DATE** More details of this event are to follow but if you have any suggestions for the day’s programme please email Steve Lucas.
  • 21 April 2018 – Midlands Bat Conference. **SAVE THE DATE** More details of this event are to follow but if you have any suggestions for a location or content for the day please email Naomi (details as above).
  • 07-09 September 2018 – National Bat Conference, University of Nottingham. **SAVE THE DATE** More details of this event are to follow.

Other Events

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