Presentation Title

It’ll Drive you Batty: Looking for Environmental Cues that Trigger Hibernation Arousal in Hibernating Bats

Presenter Information

Mitchell Johnson

Location

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

Start Date

18-3-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

18-3-2016 6:00 PM

Abstract

This research looks at which environmental factors are actually the cues that trigger bats to arise from hibernation and become active. This will allow researchers to have a “yardstick” against which scientists can compare winter bat behaviour in BC at present. If the fatal bat fungus, White-Nose Syndrome, reaches BC, it will alter hibernating bat behaviour. In the future, if observed bat behaviour falls outside the parameters discovered by this research it may indicate to biologists that the fungus has reached BC. Several areas in the south Okanagan were monitored using ultrasound recorders to determine the rate of bat activity from November to the end of February, between 2010 and 2014. Data are being compared with several environmental factors in hopes of finding something that acts as a cue for bats to arise from their hibernation. To date, the data has revealed activity at a temperature almost twice as low as previously thought. The data also shows that factors such as temperature and pressure seem to have no effect on bat behaviour in the winter, but moon phase might have an effect. Further analysis is being conducted. Future work will include working with New Afton mines to finish developing a field bat lab that will allow us more precise control over hibernaculum variables and a place to continuously monitor a number of bats during all seasons.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Naowarat Cheeptham

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Mar 18th, 12:00 PM Mar 18th, 6:00 PM

It’ll Drive you Batty: Looking for Environmental Cues that Trigger Hibernation Arousal in Hibernating Bats

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

This research looks at which environmental factors are actually the cues that trigger bats to arise from hibernation and become active. This will allow researchers to have a “yardstick” against which scientists can compare winter bat behaviour in BC at present. If the fatal bat fungus, White-Nose Syndrome, reaches BC, it will alter hibernating bat behaviour. In the future, if observed bat behaviour falls outside the parameters discovered by this research it may indicate to biologists that the fungus has reached BC. Several areas in the south Okanagan were monitored using ultrasound recorders to determine the rate of bat activity from November to the end of February, between 2010 and 2014. Data are being compared with several environmental factors in hopes of finding something that acts as a cue for bats to arise from their hibernation. To date, the data has revealed activity at a temperature almost twice as low as previously thought. The data also shows that factors such as temperature and pressure seem to have no effect on bat behaviour in the winter, but moon phase might have an effect. Further analysis is being conducted. Future work will include working with New Afton mines to finish developing a field bat lab that will allow us more precise control over hibernaculum variables and a place to continuously monitor a number of bats during all seasons.