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With urbanisation becoming a major threat to sustainable microbat populations, scientists from the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology (ARCUE) are studying the long-term viability of microbats living in and around Melbourne. Join these scientists for a dusk-till-dawn expedition inside Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens to help them determine the effects of urbanisation on the microbats living in the city. Microbats differ from the larger flying foxes or fruit bats in that they weigh just a few grams, eat insects, and navigate through the city using ultrasonic calls that are beyond our hearing range. There are up to 15 species of microbat in Melbourne, but we know very little about their distribution, abundance, and habitat requirements.As a volunteer on this overnight expedition, you will trap and band microbats and record their species, sex, age, and reproductive stage. You will also collect data on the bats' food supply (insects) and features of their habitat.This information will establish baseline data on the community composition and critical habitat requirements of insect-eating bats across greater Melbourne, and it will help us develop ways to conserve their populations. In the larger scheme, the project will enable us to compare the effects of different planning schemes (e.g. sprawling suburbs versus compact, higher-density housing) on bat survival and to provide these data to local councils and planners so that future urban development can accommodate sustainable microbat populations. Families are welcome on some of these teams. This means that children aged 10-17 can sign-up with their parent or guardian. Call or email Earthwatch or check out our website to learn which dates are the family teams.
For bookings or more information please call the Expedition Manager on 03 9016 7590
About the Research Area
Melbourne is a “green” city with a multitude of parks and reserves scattered across the city and its suburbs. The expedition will be based in the picturesque setting of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, which extends over 38 hectares and displays more than 50,000 plants. Diverse plant collections, year-round events, unique tours, and a reputation as one of the world's finest gardens have made the Royal Botanic Gardens one of Melbourne's most popular tourist attractions.
Meet the team at the Trades Entrance to the Works Yard (between gates E and F) off of Birdwood Avenue.
For each overnight expedition, you will meet the team at the Royal Botanic Gardens at 6:30 pm and will be done the following morning at 9:00 am.