BatChat

Gareth Jones - A lifetime of research

November 03, 2021 Bat Conservation Trust Season 3 Episode 24
BatChat
Gareth Jones - A lifetime of research
Show Notes Transcript

S3E24 BatChat is back for a third series! Steve is on the roof of the biological sciences building with Professor Gareth Jones where he talks to Steve about just some of the research he has undertaken in his lifetime with bats. They discuss the work famously done to separate the two pipistrelle species back in the 90's, what Gareth gets up to in his spare time and the unusual behaviour found in fruit bat species which won Gareth the Ig Nobel Prize! Please leave us a review if you can, it helps us to reach a wider audience so that we can spread the word about how great bats are.


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Steve Roe:

Yes, we're back, series three of BatChat is here and we have a great series lined up for you. If you're a returning listener, it's great to have you back. If this is your first time welcome along. I'm Steve Roe, a BCT trustee. Now unlike the last series, we've been able to record all of the guests in this series out in the field rather than online. And boy do we have some great guests coming up. Episodes, as always, will be released every second Wednesday from now until the spring, you can join the conversation online, use the hashtag BatChat. that's all one word. As we meet each of the guests in this series, you'll hear stories from people working to make a difference in the world of bat conservation. We'll be hearing from people who care about individual species, people who concentrate on one particular part of bat ecology, and people who are working with bats at a landscape scale. As well as keeping up with the latest news and hearing from people in the world of character of conservation. We hope that you'll be inspired to get involved because bats need our help. On today's episode, we joined Professor Gareth Jones on the roof of his office in the city of Bristol in the southwest of England. Now, if you've wondered what sorts of things and academic who works with bats gets up to Gareth revealed some of the studies he's worked on in his lengthy career to me back in July. So Gareth, we're on what's known as the skylounge, on the top of the life sciences building in Bristol, and you joined this university 36 years ago back in 1985. What was it that made you pursue research and in particular bat research?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yes, you've done your research very, very well. I think it is 36 years now that I've been in Bristol. So why did I come to Bristol? Well, I actually did my PhD on birds. I worked on reproductive investment in swallows and sand martin's in Stirling in Scotland. But then I got interviewed for a postdoc position in Bristol. And the work there was to work on aerodynamics of bad flight. And I didn't know that much about the aerodynamics. And I was offered the position in Bristol. And in those days, we used to do experiments in corridors. So we used to come in, in the evenings, take over the top corridor in the department, the old building that we were in in those days, and we would fill the corridor with helium filled soap bubbles. And I had three noctules at the time that I inherited from my predecessor. And these noctules I could fly them around the lecture theatre and have come back and land on me they were really tame animals. And we did experiments flying these noctules through these bubbles, and we've photographed them with multiple flash photography methods, stroboscopic imaging, so we could visualise the movements of the air as the bat flew through the bubbles. And we discover different gaites, if you like, associated with fast flight and slow flight. And that gave us a paper in Nature back in 1985. And that's how things kicked off in Bristol, really.

Steve Roe:

I mean, what was it going back to Sterling? What was it about Sterling that made you want to do research? I guess you know, what, why? Why the academic side? Well,

Unknown:

I guess I've been pretty I've always been interested in the natural world. And I still find it, you know, the biggest source of wonder and inspiration out there. And ever since I was a kid I was really into into nature. I wanted to understand more about it. I did a degree at Royal Holloway College in London. And I knew from the age 14 that I wanted to be a biologist. And there was something that's Sterling University, my PhD supervisor there whose work I really thought very highly of and I applied to do a PhD with him. And I was offered the position.

Steve Roe:

Nice. So what was it about, you know, being a teenager at the age of 14 that made you know that you wanted to go into this? You know, where your parents interested in wildlife or was it stuff at school that influenced you?

Unknown:

No, I guess I was an only child. And I just got great pleasure from wandering around in those days. My father would drop me off in the middle of nowhere, and I could wander around do some birdwatching, look at butterflies, et cetera. And I just found nature fascinating. And, you know, you reach a point, I suppose, where you start watching things, seeing different things, I still enjoy doing that. But you reach a point where you want to find out how things work. And I've always been fascinated by evolution and trying to understand why things are coloured the way they are, why things make the sounds in the way they do. Why wings are shaped they are the way they are, et cetera.

Steve Roe:

And from those that early study with noctules since then you've in the past, you've been very much focused on the echolocation side of things. What about echolocation that made you go down that route of of bat research?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yes. So initially, I got really interested in. You know, I'm always a great believer in making predictions in biology and having a solid framework for making those predictions and working on flight, you can use aerodynamics theory to predict how winshape will affect how bats fly, how fast they fly, how good they are turning and how that relates to the ecology of the animal. And you can do the same thing with acoustics. So there's a huge amount of theory developed largely by sonar and radar engineers about how certain signals work in particular ways. And although, you know, humans have only been using these signals relatively recently, the bats have been using them for 50 million years or so. And it's been a remarkable convergence in the types of signals using sonar and radar and some of the signals that bats use as well. So it's having that prediction. Why is about using this type of signal? Why is the bats? Why is about flying in this particular way, given the shape for its wings, that I found fascinating. At the start of my research career on

Steve Roe:

You've published, I mean, from what I could find bats, online, it's well over 300 papers, I daresay it's close to 400 now, if not more, there's been an awful lot of research done and yet we still know so little about echolocation. What, what areas do you think we've still got to learn and what what areas have echolocation left to study?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Just the last few days, I've been writing a little something called a dispatch article for one of the top biology journals about a paper that came out in science a couple of weeks ago, where it was shown quite convincingly that these tree mice echolocate. And people had a hunch that this was happening for some time, they knew that these mice were emitting signals that were very similar to the echolocation signals of bats. But this study was so good in that not only did it describe the signals for the known living species of tree mice, it also did the behavioural experiments with the year plugging, etcetera, to show that they used the signals for orientation in the dark. It did showed molecular genetics work, where you can see convergence of some of the hearing genes. And this convergence has been noticed before in bats and dolphins. But now, the same hearing genes follow similar patterns in molecular evolution in pre mice. And also this convergent morphological evolution. So some of the bones in the year and in something called a style styler, Heil apparatus, show a fusion pattern. And that fusion pattern was only previously noticed in bats, it was thought to be important. For echolocation. We don't know exactly why. And sure enough, the same pattern occurs in these tree mites. So discovering echolocation in new taxa is always going to be really, really interesting. And, you know, in recent years, I've got more and more fascinated by genes and molecular approaches. Now we have these really high quality genomes of bats, we can start understanding some of the genetic basis for echolocation calls, etc. And that's, that's an area that sort of excites me quite a lot at the moment.

Steve Roe:

And you think that will answer that chicken egg question of which came first flight or echolocation? Or yeah, do you think we'll never know?

Unknown:

Okay, so yes, it's a very good chicken and egg question. I tend to come down in favour more of the echolocation first hypothesis, this mice mouse study was really interesting in that, you know, mice aren't related to bats in a very different super order of mammals. But this study showed that terrestrial mammals can use quite sophisticated forms of echolocation. So it is extremely plausible. I think that the ancestor of bats may have used something similar in the past. And yes, we're standing starting to use sort of developmental biology to understand some of these features to do with that might help us understand whether echolocation evolved before flight. Or indeed, if the two evolved together the so called tandem hypothesis because we know that echolocation calls are extremely costly to produce when an animal is at rest and by coupling the sound production with the biped by using the same muscles that he used to power the wings in flight. It's been hypothesised that bats can produce echolocation calls at no extra cost of the cost of flight.

Steve Roe:

And what do you think's been your, or what's been your most favourite piece of research that you've done? What what which we've experimented to enjoy doing most.

Prof. Gareth Jones:

So some of the work that's really excited me recently is involved a phenomenon called DNA methylation, methylation epigenetics. And, you know, we've known about DNA and genes and genomes for some time now. But epigenetics is where portions of DNA undergo this process called methylation. And that can affect how genes are expressed so. So the quantities of proteins that are produced, and these genes become methylated, in a very specific way in relation to age. So we published a paper, I mean, this is work led by Jerry Wilkinson, and Steve Horvath in the US. But we contributed data from the long term study on greater horseshoe bats that I've been doing with Roger ransom. And we found that we can predict the age of these greater horseshoe bats within months from these these patterns of DNA methylation. And what's really, we've started to understand some of the ways in which, you know, certain genes become hyper or hypo, more or less methylated in bats, and how this might confer exceptional, exceptional longevity, how it might confer protection against cancers, etc, as well. But what interests me at the moment, I guess, is why some animals age faster than others? So something I'm hoping to do in the near future is look at these changes in DNA methylation. And trying to understand how things like poor weather, how excesses large scale investment in reproduction, might force changes in DNA methylation, that might bring about accelerated ageing or decelerated ageing in in bats.

Steve Roe:

And I mean, do you think it's realistic that that will help us understand how we can prevent cancers going going forward?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yeah, I mean, that's an interesting question. It's always something that people write into papers or as they write into grant proposals, etc. But there there are, there is potential. And there's no doubt that understanding epigenetics is perhaps one of the ways we can better understand ageing. And this is some amazing work in the US at the moment, showing that these patterns of this this ticking of the epigenetic clock, can indeed be reversed by certain drugs, etc. So, it is possible that this, you know, I think this is just one cog in the wheel of understanding ageing, and I think by understanding the epigenetic clock, and perhaps reversing it, we might be able to get some way of slowing down ageing in, in humans, indeed, whether there's no doubt that that's because that's very specialised ways of dealing with ageing. So in some species, that telomeres these little caps on the end of chromosomes, that gets shorter and shorter typically as animals age, some bat species don't show erosion of these, these these telomeres with age, and Emma teeling, especially in University College, Dublin, has begun to understand that there are certain perhaps, genetic mechanisms that might be specific to bats that prevent the telomeres from getting shorter, whether that would open the way for novel treatments in humans that don't really know but you know, possibly it might. And we're working closely with Mr. On the telomeres studies, as well. Looking at at, you know, we've got greater horseshoe bats now in Rogers study population that are well over 24 years of age, and we can look at patterns in their telomeres. We Roger has gotten amazing information on their reproductive output, et cetera over the years. So relating all this life history data to patterns of ageing, I think, really excites me at the moment.

Steve Roe:

We had Roger on the first series of the podcast, I'd never been to Woodchester before. And we did. Did the count and we did a interview in one of the rooms and then he was like, trying to come upstairs into the attic and have a look. I was like, Yeah, and like squeeze Roger at the age of whatever he is just squeezing through that tiny little gap that oh my goodness, every week he's doing that. Yeah, it's amazing. Yeah, there's

Unknown:

no doubt Roger's epigenetic clock is still very healthy.

Steve Roe:

And how many continents or countries have you have you done research on and which of which of those have been your favourite areas? And

Prof. Gareth Jones:

why? Yeah, you know, I've sort of lost count. I've I've done research in trying to think of a few examples. Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Belize, North America, Malaysia, Thailand. Several countries in Europe and I've had students working in Mexico, Colombia, the African continents I've worked in, in Gambia, etc. Myself. In terms of favourite places to work. I had a great time in New Zealand studying the the short tailed bats there that spent a lot of time foraging on the ground. I've always loved going to desert habitats as some of the echolocation work we did in places like Arizona. I mean, it's just such a stunning place to work at. And places like Texas, as well as these huge colonies of the Mexican freetail bats. Those are some of my favourite spots. I must admit I'm more of a I like a bit of space in the environment. And things like desert habitats appealed to me a lot more than tropical rain forests that I've learned a little bit closed in and very, very hot places to work. But having said that, you know, I've had some great time catching bats like these Kira, Mirrlees, bass, these huge aerial insectivorous bats in Malaysia. And it's not just bats. I mean, I've got students who've worked on monkeys, crocodiles, and now on crayfish, insects, etc, as well. And some great experiences going around in little dugout canoes, in the Egipto. Forest, in the Amazon as well.

Steve Roe:

From when I was getting into that, when I was a teenager, and one of the most recent bits of research that was around was the research that you led with Kate Barlow, and with Elizabeth Barrett splitting the pipistrelles. Can you just tell us a bit more about that story and how how you ended up, he suspected that they were two different species in the two bits of work that those two women did.

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yeah, this is taking taking the back quite a long time. Now. I think the initial paper we published was 1993. And suggesting the years coming up to 1993. I was just recording the echolocation calls of pipistrelles. And notice that there were two echolocating types, there was this sort of bimodal distribution in the frequencies of the echolocation calls. I wasn't the first to notice this. People have noticed it in continental Europe before, but they thought that the purpose drives are changing their echolocation calls in relation to habitat. And they didn't notice how, you know, very bimodal the distribution of core frequencies actually was. So I teamed up with someone who was an intern in the lab at the time her name was Sophie van Paris. She's now an academic in until recently she was in Norway. I think she's moved on again, maybe to Canada since since since then. And she came to the lab from Cambridge and we spent a summer going around roofs and recording these echolocation calls. And we found that any one maternity roost contained only one echolocating type of postural bat. It also caught bats from the roof so we let them go in the same standardised habitat type. And they still kept this difference in difference in core frequencies. So we could reject the hypothesis that it was the habitat that was changing the echolocation calls on the pedestals. Then, Kate came out I'm into my lab. And you know, Kate, Kate was an amazing woman, she, she had a great way of making quite complicated arguments simple, she could write very, very clearly. And she was just so efficient guesses as well. And Kate sort of started bringing things together, she worked on the social call differences of these two echolocating types of pipistrelles. She did playback experiments where we played back the calls of one type in the field and found that only the same type responded to those calls. So these are the little squeaks you sometimes hear pipistrelles making and they make other bats go away. They're probably better called anti social calls. And, but only to call the social calls of 55 kilohertz bats, as we call them, then make 55 kilohertz bats go away the 45 kilohertz bats ignore them and vice versa. Kate also looked at skull morphology, roost sizes, etc. And we started looking at habitat use differences as well. I've tried to remember some of the other studies going on at the time Ian Davidson Watts did some work radio tracking bats and found very different patterns of habitat use similar studies Aberdeen confirm that, that were going on at the same time. Kirsty Park, who was in my lab to around about the same time, she showed that the mating groups these bats only contained one of these, what we call phonic types at the time suggesting that they were reproductively isolated. And then we teamed up with Elizabeth Barrett at the Zoological Society of London, and initially, we did what nowadays will be considered very, very basic genetics. We looked at short fragments of mitochondrial genes. And we found big differences between these two explicating types of bats. And these differences were so big that if you use something like called the molecular clock, it predicts that perhaps the species diverged five or 6 million years ago. So that was really exciting. We've carried on doing work with nuclear fragments of nuclear genes and confirm this, these differences as well. And I suppose what excites me most about this study is the fact that brings together studies on acoustics, genetics, behaviour, habitat use, and integrates them all together in showing convincingly that there are two species present. And we've, we've carried on using these approaches. And I think I've been involved in studies that have identified another four or so new species of bats around the world building on these studies, then it's remarkable now, you know, when that when I first came into the field, they were what, probably somewhere around about 800 species of bats describe in the world. Now we've got over 1400. And this is in part, I would say largely due to these advances in molecular techniques, and molecular characterization of different species of bats, and also different types of echolocation calls in bats as well, that's helped identify some of these new species as well. How many

Steve Roe:

more species reckon we'll find in the coming years?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yeah, good question. I don't know I suspect the rate of increase will slow down slightly. But I'm fairly confident we'll get past 1500 relatively easily. And this, especially as these molecular methods are applied more and more in as yet understudied that foreigners, I think will will hopefully, find a fair number of, of new species.

Steve Roe:

So, fellatio and fruitbat won you the ignoble prize, where does a piece of research come from? Did you go specifically looking for that? Or did it come out of a byproduct of something else you were doing? Oh,

Unknown:

this is just one of these pieces of serendipity. So I was I guess I've been involved in two quite big research programmes overseas, one in China and more recently in India. And when I worked in China, my colleagues there noticed this behaviour and described it and it attracted a lot of attention. So I think when I last looked at the plus statistics, we published the paper in a journal called plus one of all the plus papers. This was the second most highly viewed any of the papers in it, it caused a lot of concern. There's even a sexual harassment case in Ireland associated with this paper where scientists left the paper on a colleague's desk. There were other things going on in that case that muddied the water. But I remember the scientists being reprieved initially in the Irish courts and holding up a copy of this paper on the front page of the Irish Times. Yeah, I mean, it was it was, well, it was interesting. I got a lot of feedback from some quite famous evolutionary biologists actually saying that, you know, can this tell us anything about for instance, about pleasure sensations in other animals, for instance, and only last week or the week before? I got a video sent to me from the US have a Rodrigues fruit bat, perform performing self, Felicia? Wow, gosh, I must admit, I never knew that some of these fruit bats had such enormous tackle.

Steve Roe:

Going back to the bat detectors, I mean, you've said echolocation still got important role to play in splitting the species. What do you think the future of bat detectors are? Do you see? Do you think we've reached a peak of technological abilities or jacking it'll continue to get better?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yeah, I mean, I'm amazed at the advances actually in bat detector technology. So when I first started working on bat echolocation, I used to use this thing called a ray cow instrumentation recorder, which was probably about a metre long, it weighs an awful lot, and I had to power it with yachting batteries. And this sent me to a chiropractor, actually in Bristol, from carrying it around. And then the technology improved bit by bit steadily over time. And, you know, the advances in some of the Pettersen detectors, allowed us to time expand calls, and even record the calls in the ultrasonic cause in real time. And these fast sampling analogue to digital cards were developed, the detectors got smaller and smaller, much more portable, allowed us to record echolocation calls in more and more remote places. And, you know, the ability to leave these detectors in the field for long periods of time, and even to transmit data remotely has been fantastic, as well. And now, with the development of these very, very small audio moth detectors and the like, this is opening up the field of batter, bat acoustics to, you know, a whole range of countries where expense prohibited the use of echolocation call recording equipment previously. So this is fantastic, actually. And I think this is really going to open a lot of avenues to advance research on things like habitat use by bats, right throughout the world. So, you know, it's always difficult to predict what's around the corner. But I think these miniature detectors and also the fact that you can now fit tiny microphones of flying bats record the cause of these bats as they're flying around in wild. I mean, that's fantastic.

Steve Roe:

And what are your views on auto analysis?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yeah. So automated analysis. So, you know, back 20 or more years ago, we did quite a lot of work on trying to identify different best species by extracting a number of features from echolocation calls and using these, what we call multivariate statistical methods that separate the cause, in many cases, quite reliably to species, but not always reliably. And the challenges arise, partly because some species use very, very similar echolocation calls. But I think one of the main problems is to do with the quality of the sounds recorded so if you're off axis from a bat, or if you're a long way, if the bat is very distant, you're only catching a portion of the echolocation core. A while ago, a famous bat echolocation scientist David pi. always said that the true signal is illusory, and I know exactly what he means you only capturing the true signal emitted by a bat is is probably an impossible task. You're only just getting a representation of it. And if these signals are of low quality, it's going to create problems with identification. So I think automatic identification can be used very, very effectively up to a point. But you have to be very, very cautious. And I wrote a paper where I was involved in a paper a few years ago with a few colleagues didn't lo Russo, one of my former students, who's now a professor in Naples. And a colleague has just left us who, you know, was one of my favourite colleagues and a great friend, yes, Fidel from Sweden. And we published a paper where we showed, we knew what the species were that were emitted the cause. And we identified a number of misclassifications from automated analysis. And the message was, you know, Be prudent, be careful. Exercise caution when you're using these automated identification methods. I found them extremely useful for in Britain, at least, most of the battery recorded pipistrelles and these automatic identification programmes are very, very good at identifying pipistrel. So you can actually take out the pipistrelles release huge datasets with great confidence, and then sort of manually go through some of the other files to verify identification. So you know, I think use them prudently. And if you do, so you, you can reduce your workload by a huge amount.

Steve Roe:

And you mentioned students there. I mean, you've mentored something like 40/50 PhD students, where do all the ideas for these different studies come from?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yeah, I think it's just, just over 50 students now have completed PhDs in my lab. And where did the ideas come from? It's a mixture. So sometimes I have ideas. And I will write a research proposal and then get some funding. And we interview students and take on the best ones. Sometimes the students find the funding themselves, and often develop most of the ideas themselves. So just a few examples off the top of my head, especially overseas students, I've had some great overseas students who've raised their own funding and brought it to Bristol with their own ideas. And I've tweaked those ideas a little bit. But, you know, most of the intellectual ideas have come from the students themselves. Several students have raised funding to do their own PhD. So some examples. John Flanders, who's now head of research science at Bat Conservation International in Austin, Texas, he raised I think, over 60,000 pounds towards funding his PhD on horseshoe bats. Emma Stone, who's now a senior lecturer, not far from here, actually, the University of West of England, she raised lots and lots of money to fund her work on street lighting and bats. So it's a two way process. And sometimes I have a fair amount of inputs into coming up with the ideas and shaping them sometimes, most of the impetus comes from students. But you know, if you were to ask me what my most favourite achievement has been, over my career, it's actually mentoring some of these PhD students and now seeing them as professors all over the world in Italy, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brazil, for just a few examples, as well as several now in the UK. And seeing them develop their own research groups, seeing them have PhD students. Some of those PhD students who have even had PhD students themselves. So I think I'm an academic great grandfather, some of these now, that gives me a huge sense of satisfaction naturally, and you know, probably more than any discovery I've made. It's this. This mentoring was nurturing of ideas among younger scientists. That has been great.

Steve Roe:

I was gonna say the list is pretty impressive when you've got names like Ali Brasco, and, you know, Emma Stone and people like that on it's like, well, some some big names out there. Now they've come to your lab. It's it's pretty impressive. What do you think the greatest threat to our passes? Do you think there's a singular threats?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Threats to that? I mean, I think habitat loss, habitat change has got to be number one up there. There's always this huge challenge about how people perceive bats, and this hasn't been helped by the recent SARS cov two pandemic But habitat loss, habitat degradation, loss of food supplies, I think these are the things that probably having greatest impact on bats. Climate change is no doubt having an impact as well. That's not necessarily always negative, though sometimes in most cases it probably is. And, you know, understanding we've just got a PhD student starting this September, trying to relate changes in insect abundance over the years. So using the long term data that have been collected at Rothamsted and trying to relate that to population changes in both insectivorous birds and bats, and trying to get a better understanding of how some of these probably fairly catastrophic declines in insect populations have had knock on effects for bats.

Steve Roe:

When I was doing some research of yourself and trying to work out what sort of questions to come up with, I came across your personal web page where you're doing your photography stuff, and, you know, we're sat on this Skylander we got amazing views over the city. You do a lot of photography, is that a way to? Is that what you enjoy doing in your personal time? Do you very much step away from the back side of things?

Prof. Gareth Jones:

Yes. So, you know, 90% of my time nowadays is sat in front of a computer screen, writing manuscripts, revising manuscripts, signing forms, attending online committee meetings, et cetera. And and that reaches a point where you just need to get outside. It's not good for anyone, I think, to spend all day sat down in front of a computer. So getting out into the natural world and seeing it. And in my case, photographing, it gives me huge, it reinforces my sense of wonder, I guess, about nature. And okay, it does result in me spending more time at the computer fiddling around the photographs afterwards, that actually being out there. And seeing wildlife gives me huge pleasure. So, you know, in the last few weeks, one of the things that amazed me about LockDown actually was just rather than going out and seeing wildlife in other places, just seeing what we have around Bristol, seeing the peregrine falcons in the gorge and a couple of nights ago watching some Kestrel checks flying around in the gorge. The red flowers up there, it's fantastic.

Steve Roe:

And if people are visiting Bristol, where would you recommend they go visit to look at Wildlife whichI favourite spots.

Prof. Gareth Jones:

The Avon Gorge is just never ceases to surprise me. I mean, you can get within a few metres of these peregrine falcons, they're so used to people who have spent a lot of time there, get a lot of luck in seeing them. But when you see them and that flying past, it's fantastic. Three checks fledged a few weeks ago and you know, seeing the parents bringing in prey for these birds is amazing. Flowers of the Avon gorge are phenomenal as well. We're also very, very lucky in Bristol and having a huge diversity of bats close by as well. There are places on the edge of town. East the lake actually what you might even be able to see from the sky lands here. And habits pool on the other side of Bristol. These riparian habitats are also extremely good for bats even even in quite an urban setting.

Steve Roe:

And that was gonna be my final question. Actually, you know, do you know of any roofs in the city or you know, have you got any favourite bat sightings you've seen in the city whilst you've been here for the last few decades?

Unknown:

Yeah, I guess I guess the most famous bats in Bristol are the lifeless bats. So there's the famous mammalogist called Harrison Matthews, who wrote some of the New Naturalist books on British mammals some time ago, and he was based, I believe in Bristol. And he discovered colonies of these Leisler's bats in the city. And they're still there. And it's one of the best places around actually to see Leisler's bats. I've seen them over my back garden flying around. And there's a roost, you know, probably half a mile from here that often has 100 Leisler's bats in it again, in a very, very urban setting. So those are no doubt I think the star bats of the City of Bristol.

Steve Roe:

That's been fascinating. Gareth Jones. Thank you very much. Okay. Thank you. Thanks to Gareth, for taking the time out of his day to come on the show. And thank you to you for listening to this episode. I hope you've enjoyed it. If you take a look at the show notes, you'll find links to follow Gareth and his bat lab on Twitter, his personal webpage and that fellatio paper he was talking about now A few weeks ago, a fellow podcaster posted a tweet which said the following podcasters work hard to produce shows on a regular basis in the hope that strangers will enjoy them enough to leave a review so that other strangers will trust that the show is worth the listen. This podcast then posted in the same tweet a link to a plastic gherkin or pickle if you're in the US, which is for sale on Amazon and the said plastic gherkin. yodels when you press a button, it has over 6000 reviews. So dear listener, if you've enjoyed the show enough to reach this point, we really would dearly love it. If you could please write us a review on the Apple podcasts app. It helps us reach more people to show them just how great bats are. And we're pretty sure that bats are better than a plastic yodelling gherkin. We'll be back in two weeks with Jane Harris from the Norfolk Barbra style study group. And I'll leave you with a taste of what's to come in that next episode. I'll see you them.

Jane Harris:

Well, we're in the mediaeval thatched barn, which is I think one of the biggest in the country. It was used by the the famous pastor and family in the past. And it's a huge barn with adjoining cart sheds. Brick and flint and thatch with something like 20 trusses that go up different levels to the roof so it's it's full of timbers, which have mortice joints and gaps in them right up to the roof. So it's in many ways about heaven because for crevice living. There are lots of opportunities here.