CHUA Li En Jacqueline, Bachelor of Environmental Studies student – AY 2015/16
Effect of haze on bats at water
For bats, inland water bodies are vital microhabitats. Many studies (such as this one) also find they prefer calm water because riffles interfere with echolocation. This may at least partly explain the importance of ponds to bats in a variety of landscapes. It also suggests that in a water scarce but urbanised nation, like Singapore (SG), permanent freshwater bodies, such as Eco-Lake offer the best chance to observe bats.
SG also offers an excellent opportunity to study the effects of air pollution on bats – something that had never been done anywhere – because of the annual haze caused by slash and burn agriculture in Indonesia. And Jacqueline’s final year project coincided with the worst haze event on record. She recorded bats at Eco-Lake using a bat detector, on nights that she divided into hazy and non-hazy based on the SG government’s unhealthy threshold (PSI 100).