Project  ESCAPE

Spatial ecology of bats: Effect of infection on the movements of Reunion Free-tailed bats

The objective of the project is to study, through radio-tracking, the movements of Reunion Free-tailed bats in relation to the infectious status of individuals. This project lies at the interface between research conducted on the eco-epidemiology of bats in the UMR PIMIT and the knowledge of chiroptera in the Indian Ocean zone acquired over several years by the GCOI association.

Reunion Island provides an exceptional and rare setting for research on bats. Indeed, the island is home to an endemic bat species, the Reunion Free-tailed bat (Mormopterus francoismoutoui), which now occupies numerous natural (caves and cliffs) and anthropogenic (dwellings, bridges, and churches) roosts. Despite the abundance of the Reunion Free-tailed bat, its ecology is poorly understood, particularly the movements of individuals within the island. Surprisingly, although bats are recognized worldwide as significant reservoirs of infectious agents, no study has investigated the link between infection and the mobility of these hosts. Thus, this project revolves around three questions:

  1. Determine the size of the home range, hunting areas, and maximum distance traveled.
  2. Characterize roost networks by identifying the number of visited roosts and the distance between them.
  3. Test whether infection has a negative impact on movement, particularly by comparing the distance traveled, duration of outings, and number of visited roosts between infected and non-infected individuals.
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Project duration : 2022
Geographical area : Reunion Island
Funding : University of Reunion Island (BIOST Federation)
Global budget : 14 990€
Amount for PIMIT : 9 695€
PIMIT coordinator : Muriel Dietrich (PI)
Partners :
Groupe Chiroptères Océan Indien (GCOI)
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