Bats in danger
A recently published study shows that climate change is putting a significant part of bat species at risk. The authors found that the ability of bats' food acquisition, habitat and reproduction can be jeopardized, while extreme weather events, and diseases are also likely to affect several species.
Bats have important ecological and economic roles, because these animals are able to pollinate and disperse the seeds of many plant. The researchers of Queen's University examined the scientific literature of the effects climate change can have on bat species. Afterwards they have checked which bat species could be affected by further temperature growth in Europe and North America.
They have found many examples how weather can affect the life of the bats. Climate change is expected to have effects for example on their food acquisition ability. Besides food, access to water might be a huge problem as well. Bats are much more vulnerable to desiccation than other similar sized mammals - especially in dry areas - because they are not adapted to retain water, which evaporates in a large proportion from the surface of their enormous wings. According to the researchers' examinations out of the 47 European and North American bat species 38 are vulnerable to rising temperature.
Many other species can be seriously affected by temperature-incearse as well. For example in Australia, the gray-headed fruit bats are now living in the Melbourne Royal Botanic Garden, even though there are historical evidence that suggests this region being previously too cold for them. Bats prevalence are influenced by climate change too: the ruddy vampire bats in Costa Rica have also changed habitat. They moved into the Monteverde Round Forest, as the local average temperature increased by 2 degrees.
Other bat species living at higher latitudes and altitudes have no space to move away because of climate change. Extreme weather events appearing as a consequence of climate change - such as more frequent droughts - can delete local populations. Probably the worst news for bats is that these risk factors can add up, and so there may have an even greater impact on the animals.
Climate change is not just about the bats, but many other species are affected. According to forecasts from the currently known species 30% can disappear due to the effects of climate change. The main problem is that most of the animals are not able to adapt quickly enough to the change of temperature and other climatic conditions.