Project:

Dowling (#32)
Short name: Dowling
Short description: Migratory season tracking of eastern red, hoary, and silver-haired bats to inform migration ecology and offshore wind development
Description: Wind energy development is promoted by both governmental and nonprofit entities as an environmentally friendly alternative to greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. However, wind farms can have negative impacts on wildlife, including bats (GAO 2005). A recent study estimated 600,000 bats were killed by wind power in the United States in 2012 (Hayes 2013).

The effects of wind development on bat populations may be especially detrimental to migratory tree and foliage-roosting bats, which comprise about 75% of all fatalities reported in North America (Arnett et al. 2008). In the northeastern United States, long-distance migrants include the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), the eastern red bat (L. borealis), and the silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans). These species face the greatest risks during their fall migration southward, with mortality at wind farms peaking during this season (Arnett et al. 2008). Little is known about the timing, routes, or drivers of migration in these species, or why they are particularly vulnerable to wind farm mortality during fall migration.

Major bat migratory pathways in the northeastern U.S. have not been identified, but songbirds often follow coastal routes during migration, and it has been hypothesized that North American bats may follow similar pathways (Cryan 2003, Johnson et al. 2011). Recent acoustic surveys in the Gulf of Maine have found activity of migratory bat species to be higher in coastal areas compared to inland sites (Stantec 2012), supporting the idea that coastal areas may serve as migratory pathways.

This study will take advantage of the automated telemetry station network, in order to monitor late summer and fall movements of migratory bat species. The goals of this research are 1) to monitor the coastal and offshore movements of migratory bats along the Eastern Seaboard, 2) to better characterize bat migration, including timing of movements, stopover, etc., and 3) to analyze diets of coastal migratory bats, to explore whether insect populations may serve as a driver of migration. A better understanding of bat migration can greatly improve our knowledge of how populations will react to wind development, as well as inform minimization efforts and wind energy regulation.
Project contact: Zara Dowlling
Researchers: Bik Wheeler, National Park Service
Zara Dowlling
Receivers: 1 (table)
Tags: 87 (table)
Species: 30 Eastern Red Bat
27 Northern Long-eared Bat
3 Big Brown Bat
3 Little Brown Bat
1 American Hoary Bat
1 Hoary Bat
Creation date: 2014-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
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