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Research trends on bats in China: A twenty-first century review

Abstract

In this century, China has sustained unparalleled economic development, leading to exponentially growing investments in scientific research. Yet, the demand for research-funding is large and tracing the current knowledge is a key step to define priority research topics. In this same span, studies on bats in China have uncovered an overlooked diversity and revealed novelties in bats’ evolutionary history and life-history aspects. All this 21st-century knowledge, however, is scattered and a large part is concealed from most of the international scientific community in Mandarin-language articles. Here, we summarize the post-millennium (2000–2017) research on bats in China and point out trends and future directions based on neglected topics, groups, and regions. In addition, we provide an up-to-date list of bat species in China. We retrieved 594 publications related to bats in China, nearly half were written in Mandarin. At least 147 bat species are present in China, which places it among the most bat-rich countries in the world. There was a significant positive trend on the number of publications, from 12.5 annual average in 2000–2005 to 46.5 in recent years, reflecting the Chinese economic-scientific development in this century. We found marked taxonomic and spatial biases. Half of the studies in this century focused on Rhinolophus, Myotis, and Hipposideros, and the southern and eastern provinces were the most studied. Systematic/taxonomy and Ecology were the predominant topics post-millennium, whereas only 10 articles have clear conservation-driven goals. Our review shows that the majority of studies were focused on the least concern, cave-dweller species, and on bat-rich provinces. Future projects should address the effects of human-modified landscapes on bat community to define proper conservation actions. We discuss some priority actions and projects that will help to enhance bat protection in China.

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Correspondence to Qisen Yang.

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Feijó, A., Wang, Y., Sun, J. et al. Research trends on bats in China: A twenty-first century review. Mamm Biol 98, 163–172 (2019) doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2019.09.002

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Keywords

  • Asia
  • Bat diversity
  • Chiroptera
  • Conservation gap
  • Research bias