Study casts light on ge­netic di­ver­sity of the re­gion’s mi­cro­bats

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS -

A study will shed new light on the South West’s mi­cro­bats, af­ter uni­ver­sity PhD stu­dent Di­ana Prada worked along­side Al­coa’s min­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal team in a quest to re­search the pop­u­la­tion ge­net­ics of dif­fer­ent species in the re­gion.

The team trav­elled a labyrinth of dirt roads near Dwellingup to one of the old­est patches of bush in the jar­rah for­est, where bat com­mu­ni­ties thrive.

The study will al­low the team to un­der­stand the South West mi­cro­bats ge­netic di­ver­sity, pat­terns of mi­gra­tion and pop­u­la­tion trends.

Al­coa sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager An­drew Griff said Ms Prada’s project was a use­ful ex­ten­sion to Al­coa’s own re­search into jar­rah for­est bats.

“We have had bat-re­lated stud­ies con­ducted by other re­searchers within mine re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and sur­round­ing for­est in the past few years, which re­flects Al­coa’s on­go­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal re­search pro­gram to pro­tect bio­di­ver­sity val­ues,” Mr Griff said.

The team caught six of the nine species liv­ing in the jar­rah for­est, in­clud­ing three vari­a­tions of the long ear bat. Ms Prada said the high­light of the trip was catch­ing a West­ern False Pip­istrelle bat, which is not found any­where else in the world.

“We have col­lected more sam­ples than we could have imag­ined,” she said.

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