Students study endangered bats

Five students joined Dr. Karen Powers and scientists from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation this summer, catching rare bats throughout the state. This summer focused on the capture of several species of bats that were once very common in the Commonwealth, but whose numbers have been decimated from a deadly fungus. This group worked together to determine the population status of the little brown bat, the northern long-eared bat, and the small-footed bat. Students assited with netting of bats (senior John Huth is pictured to the left), and measuring bats in hand. Cave surveys in the winter complemented this summer netting experience. All three bat species, plus others, are currently being considered for listing as federally endangered species.

The federally-endangered Indiana bat, pictured to the left, was one of several related species montored this summer. It is a species that has been greatly impacted by White-nose Syndrome, a fungal-borne disease that has decimated the cave bat populations in the eastern United States. Students are working with state biologists to monitor the decline (and hopefully their recovery someday) of these valuable speacies.

Sep 8, 2013
Karen Powers