Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 408

Full Length Research Paper

Effect of passive acoustic sampling methodology on detecting bats after declines from white nose syndrome

Laci S. Coleman
  • Laci S. Coleman
  • Eco-Tech Consultants, Inc. 1220 Kennestone Circle Suite 100 Marietta, GA 30066.
  • Google Scholar
W. Mark Ford
  • W. Mark Ford
  • U.S. Geological Survey, Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 106 Cheatham Hall Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA.
  • Google Scholar
Chris A. Dobony
  • Chris A. Dobony
  • Fort Drum Military Installation, Natural Resources Branch, 85 First Street West, IMNE-DRM-PWE, Fort Drum, New York 13602, USA.
  • Google Scholar
Eric R. Britzke
  • Eric R. Britzke
  • U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180, USA
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 09 December 2013
  •  Published: 28 February 2014


Concomitant with the emergence and spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS) and precipitous decline of many bat species in North America, natural resource managers need modified and/or new techniques for bat inventory and monitoring that provide robust occupancy estimates. We used Anabat acoustic detectors to determine the most efficient passive acoustic sampling design for optimizing detection probabilities of multiple bat species in a WNS-impacted environment in New York, USA. Our sampling protocol included: six acoustic stations deployed for the entire duration of monitoring as well as a 4 x 4 grid and five transects of 5-10 acoustic units that were deployed for 6-8 night sample durations surveyed during the summers of 2011-2012. We used Program PRESENCE to determine detection probability and site occupancy estimates. Overall, the grid produced the highest detection probabilities for most species because it contained the most detectors and intercepted the greatest spatial area. However, big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) and species not impacted by WNS were detected easily regardless of sampling array. Endangered Indiana (Myotis sodalis) and little brown (Myotis lucifugus) and tri-colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) showed declines in detection probabilities over our study, potentially indicative of continued WNS-associated declines. Identification of species presence through efficient methodologies is vital for future conservation efforts as bat populations decline further due to WNS and other factors.   


Key words: White-nose syndrome, detection probability, Indiana bat, little brown bat.