Bats play many significant roles in forested ecosystems such as nutrient cycling, insect population control, transmission of diseases, and accumulation of pesticides.

North American bats are small (4-30 g), fly over large distances, and are only active at night, making them very difficult to study.

Until recently, there has been very little research on the ecology of forest bats or the effects of forest management on their populations.

Therefore, we do not have sufficient knowledge of the habitats and habitat structures that are required to maintain bat populations. This information is critical because bats are one of the most threatened groups of mammals worldwide.

In the eastern U.S. factors that are causing declines in bat populations are disturbance to the caves and mines where the bats hibernate, forest habitat loss and fragmentation, and wind energy development.

Further, since 2006 White-nose Syndrome, a newly emerging infectious disease has killed 5-6 million bats that hibernate in caves and mines in the eastern U.S. Nearly half of the bat species that commonly inhabit the South are vulnerable to extinction.

Fortunately, new technologies such as tiny radio-transmitters and portable bat detectors have recently been developed that allow us to learn about the biology, ecology, and behavior of these important animals.

Scientists within the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit 4157, along with many collaborators and partners, study the ecology of bats – information that is used to develop conservation strategies for this important and diverse group of mammals.

Bats Research Topics: