Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Erick Greene

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Wildlife Biology

Abstract

Twelve species of bats are thought to overwinter in Montana, but surveys have found few individuals hibernating within caves and mines. However, bats are consistently recorded on acoustic detectors year round across the state indicating that they are hibernating in other places, Talus slopes may be a potential hibernacula as there is anecdotal evidence of bats using talus slopes for roosting and foraging. This is a time sensitive issue as disease called White Nose Syndrome, a pathogenic fungus, has been found nearby in Washington. White Nose Syndrome caused severe population declines on the East coast by impacting hibernation behavior. Knowing hibernacula is essential to monitoring and assessing for White Nose Syndrome. Pilot work was conducted during summer 2017 to identify active summer roosts and document species within talus slopes. To continue this work and assess what species are hibernating within these features, we placed ten acoustic recorders on talus slopes to record ultrasonic calls during winter in Northwestern Montana. In warm weather during winter, bats emerge from hibernation to drink, so winter activity may indicate hibernacula in proximity to the detectors. These acoustic data will help us estimate species diversity and relative use at each site. Additionally, we assessed attributes that may influence hibernacula suitability including: aspect, talus depth, talus size, air flow from underneath the slope, and daily temperature and humidity. Out of the ten recorders deployed, only three came back with long-term recordings. These three recorders showed swarming in the fall months and a few calls at each site during the winter months. Both 20khz and 40 khz bats were recorded showing some species diversity and they were predominantly recorded at duck, but also during the night. While there were not enough recordings to complete a microclimate analysis, this data shows that bats are hibernating in close proximity to the detector. This data helps us to establish a baseline understanding of where our bats are hibernating before White Nose Syndrome comes, so we can better assess and mitigate the fungus.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 27th, 9:20 AM Apr 27th, 9:40 AM

Bat Hibernation in Talus Slopes

UC 327

Twelve species of bats are thought to overwinter in Montana, but surveys have found few individuals hibernating within caves and mines. However, bats are consistently recorded on acoustic detectors year round across the state indicating that they are hibernating in other places, Talus slopes may be a potential hibernacula as there is anecdotal evidence of bats using talus slopes for roosting and foraging. This is a time sensitive issue as disease called White Nose Syndrome, a pathogenic fungus, has been found nearby in Washington. White Nose Syndrome caused severe population declines on the East coast by impacting hibernation behavior. Knowing hibernacula is essential to monitoring and assessing for White Nose Syndrome. Pilot work was conducted during summer 2017 to identify active summer roosts and document species within talus slopes. To continue this work and assess what species are hibernating within these features, we placed ten acoustic recorders on talus slopes to record ultrasonic calls during winter in Northwestern Montana. In warm weather during winter, bats emerge from hibernation to drink, so winter activity may indicate hibernacula in proximity to the detectors. These acoustic data will help us estimate species diversity and relative use at each site. Additionally, we assessed attributes that may influence hibernacula suitability including: aspect, talus depth, talus size, air flow from underneath the slope, and daily temperature and humidity. Out of the ten recorders deployed, only three came back with long-term recordings. These three recorders showed swarming in the fall months and a few calls at each site during the winter months. Both 20khz and 40 khz bats were recorded showing some species diversity and they were predominantly recorded at duck, but also during the night. While there were not enough recordings to complete a microclimate analysis, this data shows that bats are hibernating in close proximity to the detector. This data helps us to establish a baseline understanding of where our bats are hibernating before White Nose Syndrome comes, so we can better assess and mitigate the fungus.