Developing Methods to Monitor Bat Populations Susceptible to Fungal Pathogens

Developing Methods to Monitor Bat Populations Susceptible to Fungal Pathogens

Studies were conducted to assess the reliability of estimates of the local bat population at the University of Michigan Biological Station located in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. We determined the consistency of three censusing methods: roost counts, fecal analysis and acoustical surveys. We also focused on the effects of abiotic factors on bat activity. Entrance and exits at two roosts located on the UMBS campus (Houghton North and Houghton South), light intensity, temperature, weather conditions were recorded. Bat activity at the roosts and guano output were also recorded.

Study site and Setup- Observations were conducted at the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, Michigan (45.5596oN latitude, -84.6751 oW longitude). The bat houses on which the study focused was located on the north side and south side of the Houghton building.  The site was surrounded by mixed deciduous forests which form a dense canopy overhead.   The site was close to other buildings, dirt roads and foot paths. 

Observation Methods– Bats were observed from July 11th to August 1st, 2010.  Observers counted the number of bats exiting and entering the bat house from 21:00 to 23:25 every evening. Every exit and entrance count was tallied with a hand held counter.  Red lights were installed facing the bat house to facilitate counting while minimizing disturbance to bats.  Light intensity was measured with a photometer (Li-Cor model 182)in a clear area without tree cover.  Weather conditions were reported 0, 1, 2 for clear, cloudy and rainy respectively. Measurements for temperature, light intensity, weather conditions, as well as the exit and entrance counts were recorded every fifteen minutes. Acoustical surveys were made with an ANABAT echolocation device and bat activity was recorded 6-10 feet away from the bat house.  Guano was also collected under the roost everyday in containers placed out at 22:00 and collected at 08:00.  It was weighed to the nearest gram. 


photometer (Li-Cor model 182)
Anabat echolocation device
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