Assessing the impacts of white-nose syndrome induced mortality on the monitoring of a bat community at Fort Drum Military Installation

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Virginia Tech


Since white-nose syndrome (WNS) arrived in the northeastern U.S. in 2006, several affected bat species have exhibited marked population declines (> 90%). For areas such as Fort Drum in northern New York that are subject to regulatory mandates because of the presence of the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), acoustic monitoring is now likely more effective than traditional capture methodologies. In the summers of 2011 and 2012, I implemented intensive acoustic sampling using Anabat detectors at Fort Drum to develop a summer acoustic monitoring protocol that is both cost efficient and effective at detecting species of high conservation or management interest, such as the Indiana bat and the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus). Habitat analysis of radio telemetry data and occupancy models of acoustic data were congruent in confirming nocturnal spatial use of forested riparian zones by little brown bats.  Additionally, occupancy models of passive versus active sampling revealed that passive acoustic sampling is preferable to active sampling for detecting declining species in the post-WNS context. Finally, assessment of detection probabilities at various arrays of acoustic detector layouts in an expected area of use revealed that a grid of detectors covering a wide spatial extent was more effective at detecting Indiana and little brown bats than permanent stations, transects, or double transects. My findings suggest that acoustic monitoring can be affectively implemented for monitoring Indiana and little brown bats even in areas of severe decline. Future efforts should be aimed at determining effective sampling designs for additional declining species.



Myotis sodalis, Myotis lucifugus, white-nose syndrome, acoustic monitoring, Anabat, home-range, Euclidean distance, occupancy mo