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Seasonal distributions and predicting migratory pathways for three species of bats

Citation

Wieringa, Jamin (2021), Seasonal distributions and predicting migratory pathways for three species of bats, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2rbnzs7mz

Abstract

Understanding seasonal variation in the distribution and movement patterns of migratory species is essential to monitoring and conservation efforts. While there are many species of migratory bats in North America, little is known about their seasonal movements. In terms of conservation, this is important because the bat fatalities from wind energy turbines are significant and may fluctuate seasonally. Here we describe seasonally resolved distributions for the three species that are most impacted by wind farms (Lasiurus borealis [eastern red bat], L. cinereus [hoary bat], and Lasionycteris noctivagans [silver-haired bat]) and use these distributions to infer their most likely migratory pathways. To accomplish this, we collected 2880 occurrence points from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility over five decades in North America to model species distributions on a seasonal basis and used an ensemble approach for modeling distributions. This dataset included 1,129 data points for L. borealis, 917 for L. cinereus, and 834 for L. noctivagans. The results suggest that all three species exhibit variation in distributions from north to south depending on season, with each species showing potential migratory pathways during the fall migration that follow linear features.  Finally, we describe proposed migratory pathways for these three species that can be used to identify stop-over sites, assess small-scale migration and highlight areas that should be prioritized for actions to reduce the effects of wind farm mortality.

Funding

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Award: GRT00046616: Competitive State Wildlife Grants Program