Photo of Susan C. Loeb

Susan C. Loeb

Research Ecologist
233 Lehotsky Hall, Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634
Phone: 864-656-4865

Current Research

My research goals are to understand the biology and ecology of eastern forest bats to develop methods and guidelines for their conservation and recovery. Areas of current research include ecology of threatened and sensitive species such as the Indiana bat and Rafinesque's big-eared bat, effects of forest management practices on bat habitat use and community structure, developing and testing methods to monitor bat populations across the landscape, and understanding the impacts of white-nose syndrome on southeastern bat species. 



Research Interests

I am interested in the ecology, evolution, and conservation of mammalian species in natural systems and how these species adapt to anthropogenic changes. I am also interested in developing and testing new techniques for furthering our knowledge of mammalian species.

Past Research

My previous research addressed interactions between the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis). I also studied the importance of coarse woody debris and other forest structural characteristics on small mammals of southeastern forests.

Why This Research is Important

Bats are important components of healthy forest ecosystems and provide critical ecological services in forests, agroecosystems, and urban areas. Bat populations throughout the world have been declining for decades due to habitat disturbance, destruction and fragmentation. However, in recent years bat species have experienced even higher rates of mortality due to collisions with wind turbines and White-nose Syndrome, an emerging disease that has decimated bat populations throughout the eastern U.S. Further, some bat species will likely suffer negative effects due to climate change although other species may benefit from changing climates. Unfortunately, our knowledge and understanding of bat biology and ecology is not sufficient to allow managers to develop comprehensive conservation and recovery plans for most of these species.


Ph.D. in Ecology, 1987
University of California, Davis
M.S. in Ecology, 1981
University of California, Davis
B.A. in Human Biology, 1976
Stanford University

Awards and Recognition

U.S. Forest Service Wings Across the Americas Award, 2015
Research Partnership Award
Southeastern Bat Diversity Network Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014
USDA Forest Service, Wings Across the Americas Award, 2008
Bat Conservation Award

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

A Landscape Model for Predicting Roost Habitat of the Endangered Indiana Bat in the Southern Appalachians (2016)
SRS-2016-126 The endangered Indiana bat commonly roosts in yellow pines in the Southern Appalachians. Forest Service scientists at the agency’s Southern Research Station developed a landscape model that predicts roosting habitat based on topographic features and forest type. The model will assist managers in developing appropriate forest management practices to aid in the recovery of this species.

Riparian Zones (2010)
SRS-2010-016 In a recent study on the Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina, Forest Service scientists investigated the importance of riparian zones to bats and salamanders, and tested the effects of riparian zone width on these important taxa.

The Forest Service Publishes a Plan for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (2015)
SRS-2015-234 A new Forest Service report provides detailed guidelines for participating in the plan, an international multiagency program created to provide the data needed to make effective decisions about bat populations across the North American continent.

Tracking the Decline of Bats in North America (2014)
SRS-2014-136 Though it's well known that bats in North America are declining rapidly from white-nose syndrome (WNS), wind energy development and other causes, the full extent of the decline has only been estimated. The North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) provides the statistical and logistical architecture for coordinated bat monitoring to support local, regional, and range-wide inferences about trends in bat distributions and abundances in response to WNS, climate change, wind energy development, and habitat loss. Results from this program will provide managers and policy makers with the information they need on bat population trends to effectively manage bat populations, detect early warning signs of population declines, and estimate extinction risk.

R&D Affiliations
External Resources