With 380 species, bats make up nearly 40 per cent of Southeast Asia’s mammal species, yet the group has received limited attention in biodiversity studies. To redress this, the Southeast Asian Bat Conservation Research Unit (SEABCRU) developed a database for bat locality data across SE Asia, designed to push new records to GBIF. The database has about 40,000 records including cleaned and manually georeferenced GBIF records, data from literature, museums and field notes.
Previous research shows that SE Asian bat data in open-source resources are strongly biased taxonomically, spatially, and ecologically with consequences for models that underpin conservation policy. Of note is the lack of data for open-space insectivorous species that forage in non-forested habitats. Despite comprising over 30% of SE Asian bat diversity, these species are hard to record using conventional methods. However, occurrence data for these bats can be generated through acoustic sampling, but this requires a dedicated call database.
In an initial review, call descriptions from over 40 per cent of 270 echolocating species have been reported in literature, but none of the recordings are accessible and many of the species occurrence attached are not published. The Hungarian Natural History Museum (HNHM) has recently received government support to develop the Asian Bat Call Database (ABCD).
To fill current gaps in bat diversity in GBIF, funding from BIFA will allow this project to:
- integrate the occurrence and acoustic databases to capture species occurrence data represented by acoustic recordings,
- train researchers to assemble and format existing data following the Darwin Core standard through workshops, webinars and development of tools,
- publish completed datasets to GBIF, and
- elevate the impact of GBIF network to biodiversity research in Southeast Asia.