Recording Bat Calls
ACRES nature preserves provide researchers and citizen scientists with opportunities to study the natural world around us. By allowing scientists to work on ACRES properties, we gain knowledge from their findings that makes us better-informed stewards of the land.
Each day, these protected places serve as a setting for learning and discovery. In the coming weeks, we’ll share stories of the science happening throughout our service area. We hope these “Science Snapshots” inspire you to join ACRES in our mission to protect these places, for the benefit of all — today and forever.
Students of Dr. Scott Bergeson, assistant professor of biology at Purdue University Fort Wayne, are studying bat activity in and around Fort Wayne. Graduate student Galen Burrell is deploying acoustic detectors along forest edges to record bats’ ultrasonic calls. “The ACRES sites I am using are excellent sites to deploy detectors since they have a good deal of forested area, and each site borders a slightly different habitat,” he said.
Because bat calls differ among species, Burrell can use the recordings to measure levels of activity and species diversity at the sites. “By doing so, we can identify the habitat features that support healthy bat communities in a highly urbanized/agricultural landscape,” Burrell said.
While his results are still preliminary, one point of interest is data collected from the Mackel Nature Preserve where Burrell has recorded calls from a diverse set of bat species. A large number of calls were attributed to little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). Burrell explained: “Little brown bats are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, so finding an area where they are active in Fort Wayne is exciting. Further conservation of the Mackel area could be benefiting a species of bat that needs our help!”
A big thank you to Galen Burrell for sharing his fascinating work with us!
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 ACRES Quarterly, mailed to members each season. The 20-page Quarterly features ACRES news, stories and events. You can subscribe by becoming an ACRES member with a donation of $20 or more. Click here to learn more!