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Interspecific competition in bats and diet shifts in response to White-Nose Syndrome

Citation

Morningstar, Derek; Robinson, Chloe; Shokralla, Shadi; Hajibabaei, Mehrdad (2019), Interspecific competition in bats and diet shifts in response to White-Nose Syndrome, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.dfn2z34wb

Abstract

Since the introduction of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in North America, numerous species of
bat have dwindled in numbers. These declines observed are often species-specific and thus provides
opportunity for a natural experiment to test for shifts in diet through relaxed resource partitioning in bat
communities post-introduction of WNS. Acoustic monitoring at locations in Southern Ontario pre- (2009–
2011) and post-WNS (2012–2014) introduction showed an increase in activity of big brown bats (Eptesicus
fuscus) corresponding to a decline in the activity of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). Next-generation
sequencing of bat stomachs and guano in Southern Ontario before and after WNS allowed for the characterization
of diet changes of these species. Post-WNS, E. fuscus consumed a wider breadth of prey and
many of the insect species once consumed by M. lucifugus, including several pest insects. These results
suggest that the introduction of WNS has resulted in relaxed interspecific competition within these bat
communities in Southern Ontario.