Roosting ecology, reproduction and torpor patterns of little brown bats in Yellowstone National Park

The little brown bat is the most important species of bat in YNP both in terms of abundance and impact on night flying insects. These bats rely heavily on human made-structures as summer maternity sites in the Park, and their presence in building is often in conflict with the intended use of structures by park staff and visitors.

This species is declining at an alarming rate in eastern North America because of white-nose syndrome, a fungal infection of cave-hibernating bats. Thus, conservation of western populations is paramount to long term survival of the species, and sustaining adequate maternity habitat in summer is fundamental to successful reproduction in these bats.

Our study is working with NPS staff in examining how these bats use buildings in the Park and is evaluating how human-made structures facilitate energy savings in adult bats and support the rapid development of young, an important facet of the species ecology in ecosystems where the growing season is short and where offspring have limited time to reach maturity and flight capability.

Michael J. Lacki, Ph.D.
Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management 
(859) 257-8571 | mlacki@uky.edu | 207 T.P. Cooper Building