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Title: Spatiotemporal persistence of bat roadkill hotspots in response to dynamics of habitat suitability and activity patterns
Authors: Medinas, Denis
Marques, J Tiago
Costa, Pedro
Santos, Sara Maria
Rebelo, Hugo
Barbosa, Ana Márcia
Mira, António
Issue Date: Oct-2020
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: • Medinas, D., Marques, J.T., Costa, P., Santos, S.M., Rebelo, H., Barbosa, A.M., Mira, A. Spatiotemporal persistence of bat roadkill hotspots in response to dynamics of habitat suitability and activity patterns. Journal of Environmental Management (2021) 277
Abstract: Wildlife roadkill hotspots are frequently used to identify priority locations for implementing mitigation measures. However, understanding the landscape-context and the spatial and temporal dynamics of these hotspots is challenging. Here, we investigate the factors that drive the spatiotemporal variation of bat mortality hotspots on roads along three years. We hypothesize that hotspot locations occur where bat activity is higher and that this activity is related to vegetation density and productivity, probably because this is associated with food availability. Statistically significant clusters of bat-vehicle collisions for each year were identified using the Kernel Density Estimation (KDE) approach. Additionally, we used a spatiotemporal analysis and generalized linear mixed models to evaluate the effect of local spatiotemporal variation of environmental indices and bat activity to predict the variation on roadkill hotspot locations and to asses hotspot strength over time. Between 2009 and 2011 we conducted daily surveys of bat casualties along a 51-km-long transect that incorporates different types of roads in southern Portugal. We found 509 casualties and we identified 86 statistically significant roadkill hotspots, which comprised 12% of the road network length and contained 61% of the casualties. Hotspots tended to be located in areas with higher accumulation of vegetation productivity along the three-year period, high bat activity and low temperature. Furthermore, we found that only 17% of the road network length was consistently classified as hotspots across all years; while 43% of hotspots vanished in consecutive years and 40% of new road segments were classified as hotspots. Thus, non-persistent hotspots were the most frequent category. Spatiotemporal changes in hotspot location are associated with decreasing vegetation production and increasing water stress on road surroundings. This supports our hypothesis that a decline on overall vegetation productivity and increase of roadside water deficit, and the presumed lower abundance of prey, have a significant effect on the decrease of bat roadkills. To our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating that freely available remote sensing data can be a powerful tool to quantify bat roadkill risk and assess its spatiotemporal dynamics.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:MED - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica

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