Exploring the winter ecology and physiology of desert southwest bats to help pred

Project: Research project

Description

This project will generate species-specific information on desert southwest bat winter ecology and physiology that can directly inform efforts to predict the risk of western species to white-nose syndrome (WNS). The central aim of this study is to describe the winter ecology and physiology of bats utilizing three hibernacula located on US Forest Service land that we have identified as suitable for executing this work. The specific objectives are to: (1) describe species abundance and composition of hibernating populations throughout the hibernation period using visual inspection and photographic documentation, (2) describe total length of hibernation and winter activity using passive acoustic monitoring at the three sites, (3) describe winter thermoregulatory behaviors using temperature transmitters fitted to hibernating bats, and (4), describe patterns of winter body condition variability using an EchoMRI body condition analyzer. Priority will be given to species with high likelihood of susceptibility to WNS, particularly Myotis species. When possible, additional species will be investigated using the same approaches. Monitoring and data collection will occur October through March during winter 2018-2019. Project deliverables will include reports, presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Information contained therein will specifically describe hibernacula species abundance and composition, length of hibernation, patterns of torpor, use of energy stores, and potential to forage and therefore replenish energy stores during winter for each species. This information is necessary for predicting risk of western bats to white-nose syndrome and establishing conservation and management needs for these species prior to the arrival of WNS in the desert southwest.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/1/186/30/19

Funding

  • DOI: US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): $30,000.00

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Chiroptera
deserts
physiology
hibernation
ecology
winter
body condition
USDA Forest Service
Myotis
resting periods
monitoring
energy
peers
acoustics
forage
white-nose syndrome
temperature