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A comparison of passive and active acoustic sampling for a bat community impacted by White-nose syndrome

Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management

By:
, , , and
https://doi.org/10.3996/082013-JFWM-057

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Abstract

In the summers of 2011 and 2012, we compared passive and active acoustic sampling for bats at 31 sites at Fort Drum Military Installation, New York. We defined active sampling as acoustic sampling that occurred in 30-min intervals between the hours of sunset and 0200 with a user present to manipulate the directionality of the microphone. We defined passive sampling as acoustic sampling that occurred over a 12-h period (1900–0700 hours) without a user present and with the microphone set in a predetermined direction. We detected seven of the nine possible species at Fort Drum, including the federally endangered Indiana bat Myotis sodalis, the proposed-for-listing northern bat M. septentrionalis, the little brown bat M. lucifugus, and the big brown bat Eptesicus fuscus, which are impacted by white-nose syndrome (WNS); and the eastern red bat Lasiurus borealis, the hoary bat L. cinereus, and the silver-haired bat Lasionycteris noctivagans, which are not known to be impacted by WNS. We did not detect two additional WNS-impacted species known to historically occur in the area: the eastern small-footed bat Myotis leibii and the tri-colored bat Perimyotis subflavus. Single-season occupancy models revealed lower detection probabilities of all detected species using active sampling versus passive sampling. Additionally, overall detection probabilities declined in detected WNS-impacted species between years. A paired t-test of simultaneous sampling on 21 occasions revealed that overall recorded foraging activity per hour was greater using active than passive sampling for big brown bats and greater using passive than active sampling for little brown bats. There was no significant difference in recorded activity between methods for other WNS-impacted species, presumably because these species have been so reduced in number that their “apparency” on the landscape is lower. Finally, a cost analysis of standard passive and active sampling protocols revealed that passive sampling is substantially more cost-effective than active sampling per hour of data collection. We recommend passive sampling over active sampling methodologies as they are defined in our study for detection probability and/or occupancy studies focused on declining bat species in areas that have experienced severe WNS-associated impacts.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
A comparison of passive and active acoustic sampling for a bat community impacted by White-nose syndrome
Series title:
Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
DOI:
10.3996/082013-JFWM-057
Volume:
5
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
Scientific Journals
Contributing office(s):
Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description:
10 p.
First page:
217
Last page:
226