11 Aug Bats at the DOI🦇
This blog will be about my project and my time in Washington D.C. My time there was amazing. I was able to meet so many scientist like who shared the common interest of protecting/conservation in Mother Earth. I had the honor of meeting of Dr. Daniel Wildcat, the author of the book called Red Alert, who is an incredible and knowledgeable person that encouraged all interns to continue fighting for the protection of the Earth. Not only was my time at the U.S. capital fun, it was also educational. I learned so much from different projects that fellow interns presented: restoration of native vegetation species at Golden Gate Park, Hydrological studies, the Latino history behind Route 66 that no one talks about, and the study of Sand Verbena Moths in San Juan Island. In addition, I was also able to learn about the structure of federal resumes and how detailed these should be. While we had a webinar about this, it was a nice refresher and it was a good opportunity for many interns to ask in-person questions.
Now I will tell you about my project. It consists of acoustically monitoring bats around the monument and preserve. But why is acoustic monitoring important? Well, I will tell you why. This method allows us to know which bat species can be found in the park and where we can find hotspots of bat activity for mist netting. All data collected with the bat recording detector is processed through SonoBat, then uploaded to North America Bat Monitoring Program (NABat). With this information we can determine what precautions to take when we find endangered species such as the Townsend’s big-eared bat during mist netting. Note that the acoustic monitoring does not tell us the number of bats that it detects, it is only there to record their echolocating calls so that we can identify the calls to the species level. What I was able to find was that hotspots for bat activity are usually near bodies of water, and this can be due to feeding and drinking purposes because this allows them to not use all of their energy. Flight is a process that requires them to use most of their energy, so why not live close to where you can find all of your needs during the spring and summer seasons? Smart little guys. Winter seasons are different, because during this time they hibernate! Finally, when we mist net we also set out the bat recording detectors but this data is not uploaded to NABat, we treat this one a little different. During mist netting we are able to identify the bats to the species level, whether they are male or female, are or aren’t reproductively mature, and if they’re juveniles or adults. Lactating females are processed quickly because they have a pup to get back to.
It is also important to know that the entire resource management must follow protocol before we begin handling bats: must be vaccinated against rabies, must have titer, must have tested negative for COVID-19, must wear properly fitted N95 masks, and must change gloves after each bat handling to prevent the spread of White-Nose Syndrome.