Bat Acoustic Monitoring
Southeast Alaska Acoustic Driving Transects
One out of every 10 mammal species in Southeast Alaska is a bat. Bats are the primary predators of nocturnal insects and are the primary or exclusive pollinators of many economically important crops. Despite their ecological importance, bats face many threats, including wind farms, deforestation, pesticide use, and a fungal disease called White-nose Syndrome (WNS).
Bats are difficult to study because they are small, fly fast, stay hidden in their roosts during the day, are only active at night, and hunt using echolocation calls that are above the range of human hearing. Bat researchers use special ultrasonic "bat detectors" that convert the high-frequency calls that bats make to a lower-frequency sound within the range of human hearing, allowing us to "eavesdrop" on bats.
You can help us monitor Southeast Alaska's bat populations by driving an established survey route (transect) with a bat detector and an ultrasonic microphone mounted on the roof of your car. Driving transects have been used for many years to monitor bats in parts of the East and Midwest and have been important for detecting population declines in bat species affected by WNS. They cover a much larger area than a stationary detector, providing important information on species presence and distribution, as well as habitat use.