Title

Assessing Change in Bat Diets Before and After White-nose Syndrome

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Wildlife & Conservation Biology

Minor

none

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Macy Kailing; Dr. Terry Derting

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Assessing Change in Bat Diets Before and After the Occurrence of White-nose Syndrome in Western KY. SUMMER G. WHEELER, AMIE R. TOWERY, MACY J. KAILING, and TERRY L. DERTING, Department of Biological Sciences, Murray State University, Murray, KY 42071.

Since 2006, over six million eastern bats in hibernating colonies have been affected by White-nose Syndrome (WNS). With nine species on a rapid decline, there is reason to believe that niche partitioning will make it more difficult for these species to reemerge because of competition for food. Our goal was to find if WNS influenced the diet of Nycticeius humeralis (Evening Bat) and Perimyotis subflavus (Tri-Colored Bat), and to what extent. To find this, we recalled data from a bat study completed in 1996 at Land Between the Lakes (LBL) and compared it to current data that was collected through traps and guano. Sticky traps were placed on a stand in three heights to test availability, while guano was dissected to gather information on bat diets. The guano was spread across a petri dish and then recorded by percent volume. Both tests involved identifying and categorizing insects by order. Before WNS, Evening Bats consumed 31% Coleoptera, 14% Diptera, 23% Lepidoptera, and 17% Homoptera. After WNS, the percentages changed to 65% Coleoptera, 12% Diptera, and 9% Lepidoptera and Hemiptera. Evening Bats are not harmed by WNS, which may mean that they are suddenly able to eat more Coleoptera now because there’s less competition. Tri-colored Bats ate 19% Coleoptera, 26% Diptera, and 52% Lepidoptera before WNS. After WNS, the Tri-colored Bat’s most important food sources include 43% Coleoptera, 14% Diptera, and 23% Lepidoptera. Overall, there have been some diet changes after WNS was introduced, most likely due to loss of species richness.

Affiliations

Kentucky Academy of Science

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Assessing Change in Bat Diets Before and After White-nose Syndrome

Assessing Change in Bat Diets Before and After the Occurrence of White-nose Syndrome in Western KY. SUMMER G. WHEELER, AMIE R. TOWERY, MACY J. KAILING, and TERRY L. DERTING, Department of Biological Sciences, Murray State University, Murray, KY 42071.

Since 2006, over six million eastern bats in hibernating colonies have been affected by White-nose Syndrome (WNS). With nine species on a rapid decline, there is reason to believe that niche partitioning will make it more difficult for these species to reemerge because of competition for food. Our goal was to find if WNS influenced the diet of Nycticeius humeralis (Evening Bat) and Perimyotis subflavus (Tri-Colored Bat), and to what extent. To find this, we recalled data from a bat study completed in 1996 at Land Between the Lakes (LBL) and compared it to current data that was collected through traps and guano. Sticky traps were placed on a stand in three heights to test availability, while guano was dissected to gather information on bat diets. The guano was spread across a petri dish and then recorded by percent volume. Both tests involved identifying and categorizing insects by order. Before WNS, Evening Bats consumed 31% Coleoptera, 14% Diptera, 23% Lepidoptera, and 17% Homoptera. After WNS, the percentages changed to 65% Coleoptera, 12% Diptera, and 9% Lepidoptera and Hemiptera. Evening Bats are not harmed by WNS, which may mean that they are suddenly able to eat more Coleoptera now because there’s less competition. Tri-colored Bats ate 19% Coleoptera, 26% Diptera, and 52% Lepidoptera before WNS. After WNS, the Tri-colored Bat’s most important food sources include 43% Coleoptera, 14% Diptera, and 23% Lepidoptera. Overall, there have been some diet changes after WNS was introduced, most likely due to loss of species richness.