Data for: Tidying up the cluttered understorey: Foraging strategy mediates bat activity responses to invasive rhododendron
Since its introduction in the 1700s, the non-native evergreen shrub Rhododendron ponticum has become ubiquitous across the UK but is currently widely removed due to its negative environmental impacts. By altering habitat structure in woodland understorey, the presence of rhododendron could also influence bat activity. However, any such impacts on bats will likely depend on the morphology, foraging strategy and preferred habitat of each bat species. To investigate the effects of rhododendron invasion on British bat species, we used passive acoustic monitoring to survey bat activity at twelve sites across Richmond Park in London, where rhododendron was either present, absent or had recently been removed. As predicted, our results indicated a significant reduction in the activity of larger, open space foragers (Nyctalus noctula, Eptesicus serotinus and Nyctalus leisleri) in rhododendron-invaded areas. However, when investigating other microhabitat characteristics, we found that the presence of deer had a stronger negative effect on these species than higher densities of woody understory. The activity of closed- and edge-space foraging bat species (e.g. Myotis spp. and Pipistrellus spp.) was not negatively affected by rhododendron and a greater degree of woody understorey had a strong positive effect on the activity of P. pygmaeus. Assessments of commuting/roosting activity also demonstrated more frequent use of sites without rhododendron for N. noctula, E. serotinus, N. leisleri and P. pipistrellus. Article data: This folder contains data files associated with the published article and appendices. Files contain the following data for each of the twelve sites: BatClassify results, BatClassify validation checks, BatClassify validation statistics, Plecotus auritus validation, additional Kaleidoscope Pro results (Nyctalus noctula, Eptesicus serotinus and Nyctalus leisleri) and, where appropriate, dates checked for errors due to battery noise. Compiled validation statistics are also provided in a separate spreadsheet.