Identifying Information Is Key in Conservation of Myotis Bats in Acadia National Park – 2016
PI: Bruce Connery, Bik Wheeler, Chris Heilakka
FY2016 white-nose syndrome (WNS) funding was separated primarily into Studies/Monitoring and Mitigation (97.5%) with the remainder used in outreach and education. The effects of Acadia’s traditional management activities that is used in maintaining culturally recognized features and sites could be risking the remaining Myotis bat individuals or colonies. WNS funding (2013-2016) given to Acadia supports an aggressive management and conservation program of studies and long-term monitoring to track the status of these once common bat species.
Acoustic calls collected across the park from April to October are matched with capture information during the maternity and fall pre-hibernation periods to provide invaluable information to protect bats. Knowing when bats are present/absent, their use periods and habitat preferences, new or changing life history traits or patterns, and genetics of area populations for these continent-wide species is leading to new management and long-term conservation approaches for these at-risk bat populations in Acadia and New England. These findings are being prepared as articles in professional journals and presentations at conservation meetings as well as being provided to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in identifying species conservation plans. The findings are equally, if not more, important in identifying approaches to mitigate potentially negative maintenance and operational activities that could further harm these at-risk populations and slow their possibilities for recovery.