Forsøksdyr: Stress physiology and energetics of bats in Norway

Godkjenningsdato 08.05.2020

Godkjenningsperiode 09.05.2020-08.05.2022

1 Purpose
Environmental changes pose serious physiological challenges for animals, which means that animals need to be able to adapt to increase their chance of survival. Bats in particular are at risk of not being able to meet their energetic demands, their small body size and large surface area means that they need very high metabolic rates for activity and thus food for energy. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the stress, energetics and thermal physiology of different populations of bats throughout the year. Our research will provide knowledge on how environmental variables help to reduce, or contribute to, stress and energetic costs in bat populations.

2 Distress
Bats will be captured using hand nets, harp traps and/or mist nets, all of which have been used to capture bats for many years. Capture stress will be minimized as bats will be removed soon after capture. Morphometric measurements and sampling will only be undertaken by experienced individuals and will be completed within 10-30 minutes, which will minimize handling stress. The metabolic and skin temperature measurements have been undertaken previously on the study species with no adverse reactions. Measurements at high temperatures have also been undertaken on brown long-eared bats with no adverse effects and we expect the same for the other study species.

3 Expected benefit
Importantly, our research concentrates on animals at the individual level, rather than at the widely studied population level. By placing too much emphasis on the collective, previous studies have likely overlooked adaptations that are important for survival. The proposed research will provide crucial information on how bats balance energy use and deal with stress and also key environmental characteristics that are detrimental or beneficial to bats, especially in relation to anthropogenic habitat degradation and climate change and in particular increased temperatures. Such knowledge will contribute to the understanding of the biology of bats and how to better conserve them in the face of urbanization and climate change.

4 Number of animals, and what kind
322 Nordflaggermus (Eptesicus nilssonii)
276 Brunlangøre (Plecotus auritus)
184 Skjeggflaggermus (Myotis mystacinus)
184 Skogflaggermus (Myotis brandtii)

5 How to adhere to 3R
Replacement: As our study aims to understand how wild animals respond to environmental change, there are no other options than to capture wild living animals. We therefore cannot replace the animals with other methods.

Reduction: We will use the minimum number of animals that is need for sufficient statistical power, as calculated by using power analyses. Animals that are not needed, or of the wrong species, will be released immediately back into the environment.

Refinement: Any distress will be minimized as described above. We have all worked extensively with bats (Stawski for over 15 years) and therefore are experienced with the methodology described.