Habitat conversion and loss corresponds to a complete change in community and ecosystem states, which causes losses at all levels of biodiversity. Among anthropogenic factors, urbanization is one that profoundly alters natural landscapes, their flora, and fauna. The importance of bat ecology beyond providing crucial ecosystem services, is to act as habitat quality bio-indicators. Bats in Puerto Rico include five families: Molossidae, Noctilionidae, Vespertilionidae, Mormoopidae, and Phyllostomidae, for a total of 13 species. So, assessing the diversity and abundance of chiropteran species, and the environmental variables in the Rio Piedras Watershed, San Juan Puerto Rico, to determine whether high urbanization nearby negatively affects these ecological indices.
The analysis of the different diversity index analysis showed that depending on the month and environmental variables, species and diversity will be greater in the forested zones and it decreases in urban zones. The One-way ANOVA’s, showed that on abundance there were no significance difference between zones. The NMDS, showed that Axis 1 (0.9987) explained much of the variation, where it explained that the variable that mostly influenced abundance and diversity was the moon irradiance. We found that species diversity is higher in the forested areas compared to the other two zones (semi-urban and urban). The biggest increase was seen during the months of November and December, which could’ve been triggered by the emergence of insects due to the rain period in the two months. In the end, we cannot effectively conclude that there was a definite effect, since bats capability of taking flight to other areas that might be more favorable to them, unlike other vertebrates who are non-volant.