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ARCUE program a Melbourne Awards finalist

Melbourne’s Microbats, a joint research program conducted by the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology (ARCUE; a division of the Royal Botanic Gardens) in association with The University of Melbourne and Earthwatch Institute, has been named a finalist in the Sustainability category of the 2013 Melbourne Awards.

Now in its 11th year, the Melbourne Awards is a City of Melbourne initiative that aims to celebrate and reward inspirational people and organisations who dedicate their time and energy to help shape our city. Winners will be announced at a Gala Awards Ceremony at Melbourne Town Hall on 16 November.

Microbats can be found all over Australia and are an important part of the ecosystem. These little mammals range from the size of a moth to a person’s hand. They come out at night, are largely silent, and can eat up to 600 mosquitoes an hour during summer!

Melbourne’s Microbats is the first conservation program in the world to carry out all surveys within a city centre. It is a key part of ARCUE’s microbat research program and the resulting data helps ARCUE researchers discover more about the population structure (birth and death rates, sex ratios, etc.) and diet and roosting requirements.

Program participants stay overnight in Melbourne Gardens and assist the research team with night-time trapping and processing of bats, learn how to use bat detectors to ‘listen in’ on the conversations of bats, and find out more about the threats facing microbats.

Melbourne’s Microbats has been held at Melbourne Gardens each year since summer 2009/10 and continues this summer with programs scheduled in November 2013 and February 2014. More information, including program dates and booking details, can be found on the Earthwatch Institute website.