Cost Effective Survey Methods for Bat Identification

Focus Area

Wildlife & Ecosystems


Natural Resources







Research Idea Scope

Problem Statement:
Many DOTs are being required to conduct surveys for bat as a part of ecological impact studies or biological assessments for endangered species. Positive identification of some endangered species and in particular the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), requires mist netting which is not only labor intensive, but also stresses the individuals handled. This method also requires permits from the USFWS and specialized training/certification of individuals involved. There has been a lot of work on developing “voice prints” or sonograms of bat sounds for the purpose of species identification but so far it has not resulted in changes to protocols for endangered species sampling. (Note a conference on this topic is scheduled for April, 2002. See: for details.)
Proposed Research:
It is proposed the research be directed at developing a sampling protocol for target species of bats using bat detector equipment and software for analysis. The initial stages of the project would need to concentrate on locating available libraries of bat echolocation sounds and determining feasibility of the use of this data for the project’s purpose. If this approach is feasible based on the available call libraries, the researcher(s) could concentrate on developing appropriate protocols and possibly testing these protocols for reliability. The end result is anticipated to be a protocol acceptable to the USFWS for use in field surveys. It is expected that this research would be collaborative with the USFWS and their accepted experts and would result in protocols which could be added to recovery plans.

TERI Administrator Note (June 2007): Research Underway

California DOT; Developing an Improved Methodology for Identifying Sensitive Bat Species; Research Underway

This project is to develop accurate and easy to use methodologies for identifying bat species for Caltrans biologists to use during project studies based on bat echolocation calls and bat guano sampling. The echolocation methodology will include a reference library containing a complete set of bat echolocation calls, an analysis of the calls documenting the variation within and between bat species, validated software and hardware to identify species, and a cost-effective validated field data collection methodology. The bat guano methodology will include field collection and handling techniques and a scientifically sound guano DNA and/or enzyme lab technique for species identification.

Suggested By

2002 Research Needs Conference Idea Thomas E. Linkous Office of Environmental Service Ohio Department of Transportation

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