The Indicator Bats Program (iBats) is a partnership project between BCT and The Institute of Zoology (IoZ) . It aims to develop national bat monitoring programs across the globe in order to generate long-term data on biodiversity indicator species, helping assess the impact of national development and global change.
Such data is crucial for the successful implementation of resolutions arising from the United Nations Environmental Program's (UNEP) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Bats are ideal to use as indicators of changes in environmental quality and biodiversity in general because of their ecological requirements and their sensitivity to environmental change.
Romania and Bulgaria
The first iBats project was set up in May 2006 in Romania and Bulgaria with funding from The Darwin Initiative (with additional funding from The Rufford Foundation and Bat Conservation International). The project formed partnerships with organisations in Romania and Bulgaria to establish national monitoring programs.
From 2006 to 2008 a total of 304 transects were surveyed for bats covering 11,109 km across the region. Data was uploaded and managed using a state-of-the-art interactive web portal database created specifically for the project.
Due to its huge success, the project was awarded follow-on funding from Darwin in 2009 to extend its scope into Hungary, Ukraine and Russia, dramatically expanding the project within the region with 192 transects completed in a single year.
The programme has now spread worldwide, with pilot projects set-up in Thailand, Mongolia, Madagascar, Mexico, the USA and Zambia thanks to additional funding from the Zoological Society of London, the EDGE Programme, British Ecological Society and the Black Rock Forest Agency New York .
The iBats project continually seeks to develop new technologies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the project. We are currently developing an iPhone application which can be directly attached to an ultrasonic detector to record grid references, sound files and other survey data along the route. The geo-referenced sound files are then automatically uploaded onto the iBats web portal post survey.
In addition, we are developing automatic methods of identifying and extracting calls from long sequences and working on a neural classification network based on call parameters to identify the calls to species. We hope to include these algorithms into the iPhone app in the future to give real time analysis of surveys to volunteers in the field.
|Romania||The Romanian Bat Protection Association|
|Bulgaria||The Green Balkans
The Nature Park Roussenski Lom
The Institute of Zoology Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
The Bulgarian Bat Research and Protection Group
|Ukraine||Animals Research and Protection Association|