iBats (indicator bats program) – is a program of global bat monitoring based on recording and analyzing of ultrasounds emitted by bats for navigation and hunting.
The volunteers all over the world record bat sounds to monitor the changes in number and distribution of these amazing animals. The project is overseen by The Zoological Society of London since 2007. This moment the project geography covers Great Britain, East Europe, Russia, Japan, Madagascar, hundreds of volunteers are involved. In Ukraine the project was carried out in Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro and Kherson regions. Students, teachers, biologists and bat fans took part in this project.
Technique. The record is carried out by car. The continuous route length of 40 km is chosen. the ultrasound detector (Tranquility Transect) recording bat sounds is attached on automotive glass. The detector recorder and headphones are joined to detector. The car moves at a speed of 25 km/h. Using GPS navigator the entire route of the vehicle is recorded. The weather conditions during transect recording are recorded also. Sound recording is carried out at rainless and windless weather. Route is passing twice – in July and August. File with recorded on the route sounds of bats and GPS track program then are loaded on site www.ibats.org.uk.
British experts (or the local team) analyze the record, determines the species and approximate number of batson the route. Decryption are carried out by a computer program BatSound. Thus, the acoustic monitoring of bats is carried out.
In 2010-2014 our team took part in iBats Ukraine project. There were three routes in Kharkiv region (Kharkiv city, Kharkiv district and Zmiev district). Bats are continuously recorded on a transect in Kharkiv. It starts at the edge of the Lesopark zone, passes through the city and ends on the outskirts of Kharkiv in the direction of Chuguev. Sound file of each transect has a volume of about 1 gigabyte. To decrypt each file it is required more than a week.
On the basis of four-year acoustic monitoring of bats in Kharkiv a Master thesis was submitted by Anna Suvorova.