Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Finding where the Virginia big-eared bat roosts

Date:
August 19, 2013
Source:
Indiana State University
Summary:
A graduate student has discovered the summer roosts in North Carolina of the federally endangered Virginia big-eared bat. Until this summer no one knew where the bats raised their young.

Virginia big-eared bat.
Credit: ISU

An hour and a half hike up a rugged, snow and ice covered mountain trail led Joey Weber to new information and to help start a habitat conservation effort.

One mile up Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, Weber crawled into caves where Virginia big-eared bats spend their winters in hibernation. The Indiana State University biology graduate student worked with Joy O'Keefe, assistant professor of biology and director of the Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation, to find the summer homes where the cave-dwelling bats raise their young in a project funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

"It's the only population known in North Carolina," Weber said of the federally endangered species, which is found in five states -- North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. "No one knows where they go to raise their young."

That is no one knew until Weber and a crew of technicians found them.

Weber captured 19 bats in three caves on Grandfather Mountain and attached tiny radio transmitters to their backs. When the weather warmed, Weber and a team of technicians tracked the bats to caves at the base of Beech Mountain, eight miles away. They found one transmitter in scat after the bat ran afoul of an owl. Another bat they tracked to the basement of an unfinished million dollar house in a golf course community.

"We used to call that bat The Princess," Weber said.

It was the first time maternity roosts have been found in North Carolina.

"It's just exciting to follow an endangered species that is so small and cryptic and to find their caves," Weber said. "We knew that whatever information we found would be important for the conservation of the species."

In the primary maternity roost for the bats, 292 called it their home. In the caves on Grandfather Mountain, (state and federal) biologists had counted 400 bats during the winter.

"If the 292 bats in the maternity roost are all females then either the population is bigger than what we thought it was or bats are migrating to this cave from other winter sites. It is possible there are a lot of males in the primary summer cave, which would be unusual for a maternity roost of bats," he said.

But their findings also alarmed the team. The area surrounding the bats' summer caves is under development. Only 12,000 to 20,000 Virginia big-eared bats remain in the five states.

"If something was to happen to the primary caves where the bats dwell, it could take out hundreds," he said.

"It is critical to protect the land where the bats roost in order to sustain the North Carolina population of this species," O'Keefe said. "Bats in this colony will be faithful to these roosts year after year, but are likely to abandon the roosts if there is too much disturbance nearby."

Weber and O'Keefe notified U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Carolina Department of Transportation as well as the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission of their findings. They are working with those organizations plus the Blue Ridge Conservancy to raise funds to purchase the 150 acres surrounding the caves to protect the habitat for the bats.

Weber also presented his findings during the North American Society for Bat Research and International Bat Research Conferences in Costa Rica.

In the fall, Weber plans to be back in the mountains and in the caves to deploy bat detectors to see if bats use the caves on Beech Mountain for winter hibernation. In the spring, he'll track the bats again to attempt to discover their migratory path and find where the bats forage for insects.

"There's just not a lot known about the Virginia big-eared bats," Weber said. "It's another exciting aspect of the project, you can find out so much that is new to help conservation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana State University. "Finding where the Virginia big-eared bat roosts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819102455.htm>.
Indiana State University. (2013, August 19). Finding where the Virginia big-eared bat roosts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819102455.htm
Indiana State University. "Finding where the Virginia big-eared bat roosts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819102455.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins