Gabrielle Ednie

McGill University
Bat Acoustic Transect Survey at the Kenauk Institute

By Gabrielle Ednie, Amélie Fontaine, Dr. Kyle Elliott

In recent years, a fungus causing the White-Nose syndrome has severely affected hibernating bat species. This may have shifted the population dynamics of the eight bat species found in Quebec. However, a lack of research on bat populations makes impacts hard to evaluate. Therefore, population studies are increasingly important. As a result of this need, my study aims to gather baseline data on the bat population in southwestern Quebec by studying population tendencies to live in open and closed habitats. To evaluate the state of the various species populations, I performed active transects at Kenauk Nature, near Montebello, Quebec, with various static listening points. Bat echolocation calls were monitored using an acoustic device (Anabat SD2). I surveyed three different transects in both open and closed habitats on three separate occasions to account for variation. Detected signals were then manually analysed using a sonogram visualization software (Analook W). Using both the Shannon-Weiner and the Probability of Interspecific Encounter (PIE) indices, I concluded that the diversity of bat populations in open canopy habitats was higher than in closed canopy habitats. Furthermore, using relative abundance and distribution measures, I concluded that some variability between habitat type in the nocturnal activity of each species exists. However, many inconclusive results highlight the lack of data and weak strength of analytic software. Overall, this study highlights the need for further population monitoring as well as technological advancements in the field to accurately measure the state of the bat populations in North America as White-Nose syndrome progresses.