Bats in tea: Acoustic identification of bats in plantation agriculture landscape and their conservation monitoring
University of Ruhana, Department of Agricultural Biology
I received two SM4BAT recorders with two SMM-U2 Ultrasonic Microphones and an Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro in early October 2018. First, I tested each of the recorders overnight in fragmented forest patch at faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna, Kamburupitiya, and further tested for different recording schedules. I have trained my research assistants, Mathisha Karunarathna and Chamara Amarasinghe, regarding every steps before install (includes opening recorder, insert batteries, insert memory cards, connect microphone cable, adjust different settings) and mounting recorders and microphones in the field. And also, we were learnt about how create recording schedules and what is the recording schedule of present study. Data analyzing part hasn’t been started yet. Test recordings were made using non rechargeable batteries and low capacity memory cards available with us. Rechargeable batteries, a battery charger and high capacity memory cards will be purchased in January 2019 from additional funds. Echo meter touch 2 pro was tested using Android operated smart phones by the team during same field testing sessions.
We are in a process to extend our permissions to conduct field works in all selected tea plantations from plantation managers and land owners and applied for extend our bat capture permit from Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka. We hope to start out first field works on early February 2019 in 14 tea plantations representing all tea growing agro-ecological zones in Sri Lanka. Most of tea growing areas in the country have been affected by heavy rain falls and landslides during last few months. Weather in the country is presently becoming normal and hopefully we will gather very useful data regarding bat diversity and activity patterns soon.