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Foraging behaviour of the greater noctule bat / ELLIOT DEE

Swansea University Author: ELLIOT DEE

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Abstract

Knowledge of foraging costs is important to understanding the drivers of animal movement, and canaid prediction of the energetic implications of environmental perturbation. Here, we characterisethe feeding behaviour of greater noctule bats (Nyctalus lasiopterus) at the level of individual feedingeve...

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Published: Swansea University, Wales, UK 2024
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Master of Research
Degree name: MRes
Supervisor: Wilson, R., P.; and Lurgi, M.
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa66613
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Abstract: Knowledge of foraging costs is important to understanding the drivers of animal movement, and canaid prediction of the energetic implications of environmental perturbation. Here, we characterisethe feeding behaviour of greater noctule bats (Nyctalus lasiopterus) at the level of individual feedingevents, with the aims of: (1) quantifying behavioural signatures corresponding with feeding; and, (2)examining differences in feeding attributable to prey type. Behavioural data were obtained fromnoctules equipped with accelerometers in Donaña National Park, Spain, along with faecal datacollected from roosts. Stereotyped postures and movements indicating feeding were identifiedvisually, using which thresholds in four metrics were selected for use in Boolean classificationalgorithms delineating individual feeds. The dimensionality of feed accelerometer metrics wasreduced using Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and the metrics best characterising feedingretrieved using variable loadings. We calculated Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICCs) at theindividual and roost levels to test for within-group correlation in feeding behaviour. Finally, binomialGLMs were fitted to predict the effect of PC1 on the frequency of occurrence (FO) of seven prey taxain faeces. We identified 422 feeds, comprising significant departures in static and dynamicacceleration from normal flight. PCA loadings indicated six metrics characterising feeds, none ofwhich showed evidence of clustering attributable to prey type. ICCs indicated individual- but notroost-level correlation in PC1, suggesting individual differences independent of proximity to preyfields. Additionally, GLMs yielded no evidence that FO varies with PC1. For the first time, wequantify feeding behaviour in N. lasiopterus - a threatened insectivorous bat - using accelerometers,with implications for reconstructing energy budgets across larger-scale movement trajectories.Disentangling the drivers of individual differences may be important to understanding demographicinfluences on bat foraging ecology. However, future studies linking diet and feeding behaviourwould benefit from more refined behavioural algorithms
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Keywords: Accelerometery, bat, foraging
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering