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