Wetherell, Jessica, Melendez, Josue W., & Zuercher, Gerald L. “Bat Surveys in Eastern Iowa: Simultaneous Stability and Change.” Poster presentation for the Chlapaty Research Fellowship Program, University of Dubuque, 2013.
Abstract: North American bats (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) are often underrepresented in conservation and management plans due to inadequate current information. The recent spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS) has raised concerns for bats throughout the eastern and mid-western United States. WNS was first detected in Iowa during the winter of 2011-2012. There are nine species of bats recorded for Iowa. This includes Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat) which has been severely impacted by WNS at some locations, the Federally Endangered Myotis sodalis (Indiana bat), Nycticeius humeralis (evening bat) which is “Threatened” within Iowa, and Myotis septentrionalis (northern myotis) which is a “Species of Special Concern” within Iowa. We sampled bat communities at Mines of Spain Recreational Area, a state park along the Mississippi River, between June and August 2013. This location also was sampled during the same time period of 2012. Mist nets were set up before sunset and left in place until one hour after the last bat was captured. Overall, eight of nine potential Iowa bat species were captured with little brown bats being the most common species during both sampling efforts. During the 2012 survey, a single Nycticeius humeralis was detected in Mines of Spain. During the 2013 survey, a suspected Myotis sodalis was captured. Perimyotis subflavus (tricolored bat) was not captured during 2012 but was captured during 2013. While little brown bats were the most common species during both surveys, other changes in community composition were documented including an increase in bat species diversity between 2012 and 2013 despite a decrease in captured individuals. Bats are important components of local biodiversity; we suggest continuing bat surveys in eastern Iowa.