Bat monitoring technology has improved rapidly since the inception of the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP) in 1996. BCT are working with researchers from University College London, Oxford University and the British Trust for Ornithology to develop a new survey for the NBMP, the British Bat Survey, which will utilise the latest developments in acoustic sensor design, automated call recognition and interactive volunteer feedback. Aspects of this survey were piloted in 2017 and 2018. Here is some of the work underway so far:
The world’s first end-to-end system for monitoring bats at national and international scales
Eventually we aim to launch the British Bat Survey nationally. To enable this the project team are developing an automated, end-to-end system for monitoring bats. This system will include a low-cost full spectrum bat detector, an app that allows volunteers to send audio recordings to a central server for processing, a suite of software algorithms that automatically detect and classify bat calls to species and a portal to feed the results back to volunteers. This system will be integrated into the British Bat Survey, and as much of the technology as possible will open source.
Designing a new interactive results portal
We are working with Dr Stuart Newson and colleagues at the British Trust for Ornithology to develop an online portal that will provide rapid and engaging feedback to British Bat Survey volunteers. To begin this process we have gathered input from a sample of existing NBMP volunteers and bat groups via a questionnaire and a workshop which took place in 2017.
Trialing a new low-cost full spectrum acoustic sensor
We are working with a team of researchers led by Professor Alex Rogers at the University of Oxford to trial the use of Audiomoth acoustic sensors for bat population monitoring. In 2017 we provided Audiomoths to bat groups taking part in our ‘Putting UK Woodland Bats on the Map’ project and in 2018 we trialled Audiomoths in the Scottish pilot of the British Bat Survey. This is allowing us to assess the usability, sensitivity and recording quality of the detector.