Caroline Moussy

Caroline Moussy

Postgraduate research student

Telephone +44 (0)1326 371852
Location Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Daphne du Maurier building, Cornwall Campus


2009 MSc Conservation and Biodiversity, University of Exeter, UK
2005 BSc (Hons) Applied Microbiology, Nottingham Trent University, UK
2002 DUT Biologie Appliquee, IUT de Dijon, France

PhD thesis

Spatial ecology of the common serotine bat


DEFRA through FERA


Professor David Hosken, Dr Stuart Bearhop, Dr James Aegerter (FERA), Dr Fiona Mathews

Research interests

The serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) is widespread in continental Europe where it is the main reservoir for the viral bat rabies pathogen, EBLV1. In contrast, in England the serotine is restricted to the southern counties and so far no live virus has been identified in the British Isles, and although one bat was found to be antibody sero-positive for EBLV1, it appears unlikely that the disease is present in England. Not much is known on the ecology of this species, and especially on hibernation, mating system, philopatry, dispersal and population and social structure. The knowledge and understanding of a species’ ecology is essential for its effective protection and in the case of the serotine bat, it also has some implications for wildlife and public safety due to potential exposure to EBLV1. The project will use two powerful population level methods to investigate the spatial dynamics of the serotine bat in England. Population genetics will explore the population structure and the level of gene flow among colonies in England. It will also help inform on the social organisation of this species. Comparison with continental samples might prove the movement of English serotines to the continent if gene flow, hence mating, is revealed across the Channel. The use of stable isotopes can detect if long-distance North/South movement occurs and thus to confirm whether serotines are year-round resident to England or if they are moving to lower latitudes. In addition, stable isotopes analysis could bring more details on a smaller scale and on the use of the surrounding landscape by the serotine.

Research objectives

  • to investigate the possibility of migration from England to the continent
  • to investigate the level of population structure and gene flow within England
  • to inform on mating system and dispersal
  • to compare the English and continental populations in term of population structure and gene flow