Project  MAESTRO

Characterizing roost networks and the demographics of Reunion Free-tailed bats using passive integrated transponders.

The objective of the project is to test passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags (subcutaneous implantation of an RFID chip) as a marking and monitoring technique for populations of Reunion Free-tailed bats.

Bats are a conservation priority, especially in island ecosystems particularly vulnerable to global changes. It is now essential to improve our knowledge of their population dynamics and roost networks, especially for the Reunion Free-tailed bat, the only native and endemic mammal of the island, making it a heritage species of high conservation importance. We will test different types of transponders and evaluate their loss rates to select the most suitable equipment for this species. Monitoring individuals over time will allow us to estimate demographic parameters such as the survival of equipped individuals, as well as roost occupation dynamics (fidelity vs. roost switching). Validating this monitoring method will enable the subsequent tagging of numerous individuals in different roosts, accompanied by automatic reading antennas, thus better characterizing the demographics and movements of this bat speciesand its roost networks. This innovative technique will also reduce disturbance to the species as it does not require the physical recapture of individuals; individual detection occurs remotely, automatically, through the magnetic field generated by antennas.

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Project duration : 2018-2023
Geographical area : Reunion Island
Funding : DEAL CCT
Global budget : 106 238 €
Amount for PIMIT : 106 238 €
PIMIT coordinator : Muriel DIETRICH (PI)
Partners :
Nature Environnement 17, MNHN, UMR CESCO
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