Roosting behavior and habitat selection of northern long-eared bats during spring emergence and autumn swarming in Mammoth Cave National Park

The northern long-eared bat is a cave-hibernating species in eastern North America that once was common across its distribution but, due to catastrophic mortalities during hibernation from white-nose syndrome, has declined in abundance to where the USFWS now lists the species as threatened. Long term survival of the species requires a deeper understanding of the ecology of these bats during autumn swarming (just prior to entry into hibernation) and spring staging ( emergence from hibernation), as these two periods in the annual cycle are fundamental to mating and preparation for hibernation (autumn) and location of maternity roosts and successful rearing young (spring). Our study is working with NPS staff to more fully understand patterns in fat deposition in autumn and selection of roosting sites in the Park as bats emerge in spring, in the hope of developing management protocols that will protect and maintain suitable habitats surrounding hibernation sites and tree roosts that we discover being used by these bats as early emergence or maternity sites.

Michael J. Lacki, Ph.D.
Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management 
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