Dave Sandersfeld

Dayville, United States

Dave Sandersfeld start his career in 1970 as a US Forest Service “Wilderness Ranger” in the Frank Church/River of No Return...

Australia's bats aren't doing well in the new heat?

Temperature peaks killing off flying foxes
By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
Last Updated: 6:01pm GMT 27/11/2007

Scientists say that mass die-offs of Australian flying foxes, among the most dramatic recorded, show how the survival of whole species could be affected by climate change.

Roosting fruit bats
On Jan 12 2002, when temperatures exceeded 108ºF (42.9ºC) in New South Wales, 3,500 flying foxes or fruitbats in nine colonies were found dead. Most of these were the tropical black flying fox.

Since 1994 some 30,000 flying foxes have been killed by 19 similar events, with most of these being the temperate grey-headed flying fox, according to Dr Justin Welbergen of Cambridge University.

There was little evidence for die-offs before 1994, the scientists found. Temperatures have risen on average by 0.74ºC on average over the past 100 years.

The higher susceptibility of females and young to higher temperatures can have a serious effect on breeding populations, according to the paper published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

advertisementStefan Klose, co-author of the paper, said: "In a very dramatic way we see the outcome of extreme climate events that are predicted to increase as a result of climate change by the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change.

“These animals are simply not able to cope with higher temperatures and so they die. They are the seed dispersers for Australia’s rainforest so the ecosystem effects could be very considerable.”

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