October 2017 - This year, Pinnacles biologists began a program to track bat presence, species diversity, and white nose syndrome at the park. In coordination with USGS researcher Gabe Reyes, park staff mist-netted for bats over four nights in early spring, again in August, and yet again in September. They also conducted acoustic surveys in late July.
These combined efforts revealed 14 different bat species, and acoustic data also indicated the presence of three other bat species that have never been confirmed in the park. It is possible that the acoustic data misidentified these three species however, so the data are currently being reviewed to confirm those identifications. Biologists did not see any symptoms of white nose syndrome. All of the swab samples taken to test for the disease also came back negative.
The park followed protocols set forth by the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat)—a multi-agency, multi-organization effort aimed at providing reliable and consistent data on bat populations across the entire continent. These monitoring protocols use a sampling design that can be overlaid onto GIS maps, which help show where high priority habitats for bat monitoring are. The program covers both public and private lands as a part of a greater regional and national effort to gather information on bat populations.