PhD Research

PhD Thesis

My research collectively describes aspects of the community ecology of North American migratory bats. Combining measures of changes in the local abundance of at-risk species, physiology, and foraging ecology, I can describe a full-picture glance into the summering habitats of three species. 

What Data am I collecting?

Lasionycteris noctivagans 

Silver-haired bats are among the most common bats in forested areas of America, most closely associated with coniferous or mixed coniferous and deciduous forest types, especially in areas of Old Growth. They form maternity colonies almost exclusively in tree cavities or small hollows. And like many forest-roosting bats, silver-haired bats will switch roosts throughout the maternity season.Unlike many bat species, silver-haired bats also appear to hibernate mainly in forested areas, though they may be making long migrations from their summer forest to a winter forest site. Typical hibernation roosts for this species include small tree hollows, beneath exfoliating bark, in wood piles, and in cliff faces. Occasionally silver-haired bats will hibernate in cave entrances, especially in northern regions of their range

Lasiurus cinereus

Hoary bats are one of America's largest and most handsome bats. With their long, dense, white-tipped fur, they have a frosted, or hoary, appearance. Humans rarely get the chance to see these magnificent bats; they are not attracted to houses or other human structures, and they stay well-hidden in foliage throughout the day. They typically roost 10-15 feet up in trees along forest borders. In the summer, hoary bats don't emerge to feed until after dark, but during migration, they may be seen soon after sundown. Between late summer and early fall, they start their long journey south, migrating to subtropical and possibly even tropical areas to spend the winter. Traveling in waves, they are often found in the company of birds, who also migrate in groups. For the rest of the year, however, hoary bats remain solitary. They are among the most widespread of all bats, found throughout most of Canada and the United States and south into Central and South America.

Myotis lucifugus 

The little brown bat has a widespread range in North America from Alaska-Canada boreal forests south through most of the contiguous United States and into central Mexico. This species was once very abundant but has experienced severe declines particularly in eastern North America due to white-nose syndrome, a novel fungal disease. This species is also subject to significant mortality by turbines at wind energy facilities. The little brown bat is still common in much of the historical range, apart from northeastern North America, but at least some of these populations may be subject to declines in the foreseeable future. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently reviewing the status of the little brown bat as a result of these described threats.