Bradley Clarke-Wood

Bradley Clarke-Wood

Role: Research Assistant


Contact details:

Phone: +61 2 93858296


Office: Room 510, D26 Building, UNSW, Kensington 2052


Research Area:

In 2012, the world’s population reached 7 billion with United Nations projecting an increase to 8 billion by the end of the decade. Population growth has required huge investment in urban development such as housing and infrastructure, often at the expense of natural systems. Coastal systems like lagoons have arguably been disturbed the most by human population pressures with 60% of humans living on the coast. In Australia, a greater proportion of people live in these areas with 85% of people living within 50km of the coast. Despite these high densities, there are no formal, global estimates of the amount of degradation coastal systems have experienced and regional baseline data is often lacking. The development of San Francisco Bay is said to be consistent with global trends with 79% of tidal marshes (including lagoons) being converted to human-dominated systems. When coastal systems are urbanised, habitat quality for biota declines as a result of loss and alteration of native vegetation, eutrophication and poor water quality. This decline changes community dynamics of both vertebrates and invertebrates as well as the community health and biodiversity.

My research aims to investigate the impacts of urbanisation on insectivorous bat community dynamics.


Author Date Title Link PDF
Clarke-Wood et al. 2016 The ecological response of insectivorous bats to coastal lagoon degradation

Coastal lagoons provide key habitat for a wide range of biota but are often degraded by intense urbanization pressures. Insectivorous bats use these highly productive ecosystems and are likely to be impacted by their decline in quality. We compared bat activity and richness and invertebrate biomass and richness across a gradient of lagoon quality (9 lagoons) in the Greater Sydney region, Australia to determine the extent to which bats and their prey were impacted by lagoon degradation. Bats were more diverse and 19 times more active at higher quality lagoons. The trawling bat, Myotis macropus, was absent from all low quality lagoons, but these lagoons were used by other species such as Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis. Invertebrate richness and biomass did not differ significantly across lagoon quality. We examined potential mechanisms of insectivorous bat decline at degraded lagoons by measuring toxic metal concentrations in bat fur, invertebrates and sediment. Lead and zinc were detected at environmentally significant levels in the sediments of lower quality lagoons. Furthermore, lead concentrations were 6 times the lowest observable adverse effects level for small mammals in the hair of one individual M. macropus. The present study demonstrates that coastal lagoons support a rich bat community, but ongoing development and pollution of these habitats is likely to negatively impact on insectivorous bat species, especially trawling species.


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