Movement ecology of common noctule bats in anthropgoenic landscapes

How do highly mobile bats like the common noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula), survive in intensively used farmland or city landscapes? What are the threats that impact the individual behaviour of bats and their local populations?


Many European bats are endangered and all are legally protected because of drastic population collapses about 60 years ago, which were caused by the overuse of toxic pesticides. Currently, populations of many bat species are recovering, yet some continue to decline. Common noctule bats (Nyctalus noctula) one such species with recently reported population declines, yet the underlying causes are not fully understood.


In 2012, we launched the common noctule bat project to shed light on the conservation status of this species, and the factors relevant for theircontinued decline. To achieve this, we have investigate several study colonies across Berlin and Brandenburg to obtain detailed insights into the temporal and spatial behavior of tagged individuals, particularly in relation to anthropogenic factors such as landuse changes, wind turbines and climate change. To delineate the impact of these factors on common noctule bats, we use a combination of field studies, experiments under controlled conditions and modeling approaches.


Conservation related findings are communicated to corresponding stakeholders and the general public by organizing workshops and conferences. Additionally, we publish relevant management guidelines (Voigt et al. 2018, 2019b) for the protection of bats.


Our studies on the spatiotemporal behavior of bats are embedded in the DFG RTG Biomove ( and the Berlin-Brandenburg Center of Advanced Biodiversity Research ( Our collaborational partners contribute mostly with modeling approaches to the success of our studies.

Funding: DFG RTG Biomove, DBU, Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation

Leibniz-IZW team members:

PD Dr. Christian Voigt (Dept EvolEcol)

Kseniia Kravchenko (Dept EvolEcol)

Calvin Mehl(Dept EvolEcol)

Linn Lehnert (Dept EvolEcol)

Dr. Shannon Currie (Dept EvolEcol)

Dr. Christine Reusch (Dept EvolEcol)

Dr. Viktoriia Radchuk (Dept Ecol Dyn)

Prof. Dr. Stephanie Kramer-Schadt (Dept Ecol Dyn)

Consortium partners:

Dr. Manuel Rölecke (formerly Dept EvolEcol; now University of Potsdam, Germany)

Prof. Dr. Florian Jeltsch (University of Potsdam, Germany)

Dr. Ulrike Schlägel (University of Potsdam, Germany)

Dr. Lysanne Snijders (formerly (Dept EvolEcol; now University of Wageningen, The Netherlands)

Uwe Hoffmeister, Tobias Teige und Torsten Blohm (Berlin und Brandenburg)

Selection publications:

Voigt, C.C., ...., Fritze, M., Lewanzik, D., et al. (2019a): Leitfaden für die Berücksichtigung von Fledermüusen bei Beleuchtungsprojekten UNEP/EUROBATS publication series #8


Voigt CC, …, Kramer-Schadt S, Gras P (2019b): Movement responses of common noctule bats to the illuminated urban landscape. Landscape ecology. Accepted.


Lehnert LS, Kramer-Schadt S, …, Kravchenko K, … , Voigt CC (2018): Variability and repeatability of noctule bat migration in Central Europe: evidence for partial and differential migration. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. 285:20182174


Voigt, C.C., ..., Fritze, M., .... Lewanzik, D., et al. (2018): Guidelines for consideration of bats in lighting projects. UNEP/EUROBATS. publication series #8


Roeleke M, …, Voigt CC (2018): Aerial-hawking bats adjust their use of space to the lunar cycle. Movement Ecology 6:11.


Roeleke M, …, Kramer-Schadt S, ..., Voigt CC (2016): Habitat use of bats in relation to wind turbines revealed by GPS tracking. Scientific reports. 6: 28961.

Figure 2: Identified commuting routes (marked red) of common noctule bats in the metropolitan area of Berlin (Voigt et al. 2019).