Illinois’s Chiropteran Landscape: Leveraging Nabat Acoustic Data To inform Conservation of Illinois’ Bat Biodiversity

Tara C. Hohoff, Joseph A. Kath, Ashleigh B. Cable, Mark A. Davis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Midwestern bats are facing multiple population threats including the effects of white-nose syndrome (WNS), fatalities at wind turbine facilities, and habitat fragmentation and disturbance. The impacts of these threats erodes the critical ecosystem services that bats provide, particularly as pest control in the agriculturally dominated Midwestern USA. To better understand the impact of these factors, the Illinois Bat Conservation Program (IBCP) has been collecting mist net and acoustic data since 2016. Acoustic data has been collected across the state in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources using the guidelines established by the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NaBat) to randomly stratify survey locations. To date, the IBCP has recorded over two million acoustic files for analysis. We will share insights into how the NaBat program has worked for our team and applications for this data. Acoustics have provided a larger dataset for analysis of distribution patterns and population trends, especially for more cryptic species. Our results reveal that while bats occur throughout the state of Illinois, specific hot-spots emerge that are correlated with landscape usage patterns. These data are ultimately being leveraged to optimize monitoring strategies (including the siting of permanent acoustic monitoring stations, mist-net survey locations, etc.), validate habitat suitability models for state and federally listed bat species, and ultimately inform adaptive management strategies aimed at bolstering Illinois’ bat populations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMidwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020
StatePublished - 2020


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