The effects of climate change have led to an increase in extreme heat events, causing mass deaths among fruit bats of the genus Pteropus in various parts of the world. The Indian flying fox (Pteropus medius) is facing a shrinking habitat, and its distribution has shifted from southern to central and northern regions in Pakistan to escape rising temperatures and heat events. This DW News documentary covered our research work on “Effect of Extreme Heat on Indian flying foxes in Pakistan“.
Touseef has been selected for the inaugural cohort of the Verena Initiative Fellows in Residence Program to build upon his existing research work. He will conduct his lab work at Colorado State University in June 2023 in collaboration with Dr. Anna Fagre, who is Research Lead for Biology Integration at Verena.
This fellowship will enable Touseef to build upon his existing research work by including bat-borne DNA viruses’ propagation. He will be investigating the impact of heat stress and dietary deficiency in propagation of DNA viruses by Indian flying foxes in the environment.
A competitive Travel Award by the Congress Organizing Committee enabled Touseef to attend the 7th World One Health Congress in Singapore to present his research “Future directions for One Health Research: Regional and Sectoral Gaps”. The concept of One Health highlights the important inter-relationships between health and well-being of people, animals, plants, and the environment which supports their existence. However, implementation of a One Health approach varies considerably between different geographical regions and remains challenging to implement without greater inclusivity of different disciplinary capacity and expertise. Identifying regional and sectoral gaps will help achieve One Health research parity.
Bat research is limited in Bangladesh, so to date estimates of bat diversity in the country have been based on a few ad hoc studies and expert opinion. To gain a more complete understanding, Ashraf compiled species occurrence data from the literature, museum records and the Global Biodiversity Information Framework (GBIF). He set out to confirm species presence and identify species that might be expected to occur in Bangladesh based on occurrence records in neighboring countries and habitat preferences. To visualize the distribution of bats, Ashraf made maps for each species recorded from Bangladesh and species that might occur in the country.
He found a total of 31 species are recorded for Bangladesh – but only 22 are associated with voucher records. Evidence for nine species came from photographs and/or human observation. An additional 81 species were recorded from surrounding countries. Of these, 38 species are highly likely to occur in Bangladesh.
So what is next? To expand the country list, Ashraf recommended that surveys of bats in Protected Areas, caves and wetlands be prioritized. Surveys should use multiple methods, including contemporary techniques (harp traps and acoustics) that have not been used in Bangladesh before, as well as traditional ones (mist nets). He emphasized that voucher specimen collections are needed to confirm the presence of and distribution of bats in Bangladesh and identify areas central to bat conservation.
Citation: Ul Hasan, M. A., & Kingston, T. (2022). Bats of Bangladesh—A Systematic Review of the Diversity and Distribution with Recommendations for Future Research. Diversity, 14(12), 1042. https://doi.org/10.3390/d14121042
Publication link: https://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/14/12/1042
Supplementary Materials (Listing S1, and Scheme S1): https://www.mdpi.com/article/10.3390/d14121042/s1
Supplementary Materials (Figure S1, Figure S2, Table S1, Table S2): https://datadryad.org/stash/dataset/doi:10.5061/dryad.5tb2rbp7j