In April 2022, the BBF funded a Conservation Research Africa (CRA) expedition to the Mulanje Mountain (MM) in south-eastern Malawi. It is the only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Malawi and has been highlighted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as of key importance to bat conservation in Africa (Hutson, Mickleburgh & Racey 2001), having high endemism and species diversity. CRA has been working in Malawi to conserve bats through research, outreach and education activities.
Project objectives of this expedition were:
To determine and compare diversity and assemblage composition of bat communities between habitat types in protected and unprotected (disturbed) areas.
To determine and compare bat species abundance and distribution between habitats in protected and unprotected (disturbed) areas.
Twelve different species were captured using mist nets and harp traps and the samples collected will be received at BBF for sequencing in the coming weeks.
Genome sequencing update
BBF has completed sequencing and assembly for Molossus nigricans (black myotis) and annotation is underway. The samples for this effort were collected in Belize by Nancy Simmons from the American Museum of Natural History. Initial results will be presented at the NASBR/IBRC 2022 meeting in Austin and published in a data note. Several other species are following closely in the pipeline including - Molossus alvarezi, Myotis pilosatibialis, Sturnira parvidens, Platyrrhinus helleri, Pteronotus psilotis, Lasurus ega.