DNA Analysis of Droppings

All 18 species of bat in the UK are protected by domestic and European legislation. Bats can roost in trees, buildings, caves, tunnels, bridges and other structures, as long as there is suitable habitat nearby for them to forage.

It is illegal to

  • Disturb a bat or groups of bats in their roost
  • Damage or destroy a bat roosting place, even if there are no bats present at the time
  • Obstruct access to a bat roost
  • Capture, injure or kill a bat or possess, advertise, sell or exchange a bat, or part of a bat dead or alive

In cases where it is not possible to use traditional bat survey methods, DNA analysis of droppings can be carried out. Bat genotyping is used for reliable identification of bat species from guano (droppings). This can be used when identification through morphology is not possible or where bats cannot be seen. It also avoids the need to capture or trap these animals.

Traditional bat surveying

Where a project or development is likely to impact bats or their roosts, a bat survey is required. This is to establish the species present and the number of bats likely to be affected along with the potential impact on the bats. For more information about traditional surveying and mitigation, please see our Bat Ecology page.

How we carry out genotyping

Speciation is done through molecular analysis of DNA found in droppings collected from areas where bats are found. In order to identify the species, the DNA is first extracted and cleaned. PCR amplification and sequencing of a segment of the mitochondrial gene, cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) is then carried out.

This information is compared to a reference database containing DNA sequence information of known bat species, thus enabling us to determine the bat species.

How to order

The list price of each kit containing enough consumables to take 4 separate samples is £15. Each individual sample analysis is £45 (standard service – 10 working days) or £60 (fast track – 5 working days). All prices are ex-VAT. For further information, please contact Helen Rees.

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