Evaluate Habitat Utilization and Baseline Abundance of Northern Long-Eared Bats at Mammoth Cave National Park

  • Lacki, Michael (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


This proposal details a project that will examine emergence behavior, roost site selection, extent of WNS infection, and survival strategies of northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) during the spring staging period in Mammoth Cave National Park (MCNP), Kentucky; an important cave-resource area for hibernating bats in central Kentucky that currently is near the leading edge of the western expansion of the Pseudogymnoascus fungus in eastern North America. The northern long-eared bat has been proposed for endangered status, because of significant mortalities from white-nose syndrome (WNS) in cave-hibernating populations of this species (USDI USFWS 2013). Surveys for this species during summer months with mist net captures and acoustic devices, in regions of the distribution where WNS infection has emerged, demonstrate these bats to be much less abundant than prior to arrival of WNS and declining over time in several landscapes (Ford et al. 2011, Francl et al. 2012, Moosman et al. 2013). This project will involve the capture and radiotracking of adult, female northern long-eared bats, fitted with temperature-sensitive transmitters, from a hibernaculum infected with the Pseudogymnoascus fungus during spring emergence (i.e., staging period). Emergence behavior, roost selection, survivorship, reproductive success and use of daytime torpor as an energy conservation strategy will be monitored during 2015 and 2016. Bats exhibiting damage and evidence of WNS infection and bats showing little to no sign of infection will be radio-tracked for comparison. Fungal spore loads will be assessed in spring-captured bats and compared to levels on bats mist netted across the park during the summer maternity season and to bats captured at the cave entrance in the subsequent fall swarming period. Characteristics of tree roosting structures and stand conditions selected by adult, female northern long-eared bats during spring emergence will be measured and compared with randomly-sampled forested stands.
Effective start/end date8/1/1412/31/17


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