Nature-loving Norwich residents are being asked to help with a survey of the area's bats, organised by local organisations including the University of East Anglia.
Picture above: Brown long eared bat by Mike Toms
Called ‘The Big Norwich Bat Project’, it is a research scheme between UEA, the Norwich Bat Group and the British Trust for Ornithology.
Its aim is to learn more about what influences where bats live, and the numbers that reside in certain areas, as well as promoting interest and awareness of bats in the city.
The area that will be surveyed stretches right across Norwich, through urban and more rural parts of the city and its suburbs; the total area to be recorded covers a remarkable 196km2.
Organisers have divided the city into 1km2 areas, and need to find one garden in each section to conduct the survey in.
Dr Iain Barr, from the university’s School of Biological Sciences, is part of the project. He said: “We are looking for people who will let us use their garden to survey bats for one night in the next few months.
“In return, volunteers will get to discover which of the 18 species of bat currently in the UK are present in their area, and be part of a unique and exciting research project.”
The data collected will form the basis of the dissertations of two MSc students at the university. Beth Robinson is exploring the effect of urban features, such as housing density and streetlights, on bat activity and species diversity, while Katie May will be determining how natural features within the landscape, such as water bodies and proportion of woodland, affect bats.
Beth and Katie said: “We are really excited about this project; it is a great opportunity to learn more about bats and to get volunteers interested in them too.”
Interested Norwich residents can find out more about the project or sign up to participate at www.norwichbatgroup.org.uk/project.html
, or by emailing email@example.com
. An interactive map on the website shows which areas still need volunteers to put forward their gardens.
The project receives the support, guidance and the loan of equipment from The Ecology Consultancy and The Norfolk Barbastelle Study Group.