Short-term impacts of extreme environmental disturbance on the bats of Puerto Rico

Kate E. Jones, Kate E. Barlow, Nancy Vaughan, Armando Rodríguez-Durán, Michael R. Gannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The sensitivity of bat species to stochastic disturbance was investigated by exploiting the natural experiment provided by Hurricane Georges, which struck the island of Puerto Rico (Caribbean) in September 1998. Six forest habitats and three cave roost sites sampled for bats prior to the hurricane were sampled in the same way after the hurricane. Populations showed significant declines in abundance and species richness across all forest habitats sampled. Species' sensitivity to disturbance were not equal: larger species were significantly more affected by disturbance than smaller species, once the effects of phylogenetic non-independence were removed. There was some evidence that frugivorous and nectarivorous species are more affected by hurricane disturbance than insectivorous species. These findings have important implications for maintaining viable populations of species in areas that experience a high degree of environmental fluctuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Conservation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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