Amy Rowles


PhD Candidate

Thesis Title

Seasonal Migration of Australian Tree Roosting Microbats

Research Project

It is vital to understand the movement patterns of a species to successfully manage populations for future conservation. Bats are highly mobile animals providing the opportunity to migrate and take advantage of spatial variation in food resources and climatic conditions. In Europe and North America many studies have documented the seasonal migration of bats, both latitudinally and on a smaller scale with regional or elevational migration, as a result of seasonal variation in climatic conditions or the requirement for a specific resource. In Australia, only a few documented studies on the migration of microbats have taken place and as a consequence, the extent to which Australian bats migrate is largely unknown.

My PhD aims to increase the knowledge of seasonal movements of Australian microbat species, using the following three approaches:

  1. 1. Conduct a systematic analysis and species distribution modelling of existing records of occurrence as a function of season to identify migratory patterns in Australian microbat species;
  2. 2. Investigate whether bats are using elevation migration in south-eastern Australia by surveying seasonal changes in bat activity across elevational gradients at different latitudes.
  3. 3. Apply stable isotope methodology to predict migration in Australian bats. This will involve the development of a model that can predict the spatial origin of captured bats using the concentration of stable isotopes (H, O, C, N) in bat fur and wing membrane. This model will then be used to predict the origin of migratory species when captured away from the location of fur growth.

Dr Chris Turbill, Dr Brad Law (DPI)