Eastern Bat Acoustic Field
Techniques Workshop

Park Mammoth Resort • Park City, KY • September 8-12, 2013

The SonoBat™ software package, developed by Joe Szewczak (Arcata CA), is the premiere bat echolocation signal analysis package available to display, analyze, and discriminate between bat calls. At the Eastern Bat Acoustic Field Techniques Workshop Joe and our staff will train students in the use of SonoBat for a variety of acoustic monitoring techniques relevant to bat inventories in eastern woodlands. Our workshop location in the rolling hills of western Kentucky includes habitat for both the Federally Endangered gray and Indiana myotis, both of which are likely to be encountered during the planned inventory activities. These inventories are becoming even more important in the wake of the rampant spread of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) among the region's bats. This workshop addresses critical bat research needs by providing intensive training in the use and implementation of SonoBat for recording bat echolocation calls and designing acoustic inventories. Participants will gain an understanding of the theory and practice of recording and analyzing ultrasonic bat vocalizations, with special emphasis on the possible pitfalls and important solutions for successful species identification.

Program Details
Our workshop location at Park Mammoth Resort (Park City KY) is an independent resort adjacent to Mammoth Cave National Park, and is situated near the transition between the famous pastoral Sinkhole Plain and the heavily forested Chester Escarpment uplands. This ecological crossroads provides roosting and foraging resources for at least twelve eastern bat species. Several nearby hibernacula have been documented as important sites for endangered Indiana and gray myotis, in addition to other hibernating bats currently at risk from WNS. The fieldwork during this course will acquaint students with critical acoustic inventory and monitoring protocols designed to study these dwindling populations.

The workshop combines indoor classroom lectures and discussions with outdoor field outings. Participants receive an introduction to the use of SonoBat software for conducing acoustic monitoring and inventories as well as a comprehensive understanding of common echolocation call characteristics used for species identification. Guided classroom demonstrations and hands-on experience with equipment in the field will acquaint participants with a full range of methods, techniques, and technologies available for acoustic analysis. See below for a complete list of lecture and discussion topics, demonstrations, and evening field activities. Daily goals and objectives for the course are described more fully at the bottom of this page. An annotated draft agenda is available for download here.

The SonoBat Field Techniques Workshop is open to biologists and naturalists from federal, state, or local agencies, college and/or graduate students, and other professionals or enthusiasts with a desire to learn more about full-spectrum echolocation recording and bat call analysis using SonoBat software. No prior experience is necessary. Students are not required to handle bats, therefore rabies pre-exposure vaccination is not required.

One session: September 8-12 (Sunday-Thursday). Class size: Limited to 20 students. Location: Park Mammoth Resort, Park City, KY.

Workshop Instructors:
Joe Szewczak,
B.S.E. (1980) Duke University, Ph.D. (1991) Brown University, is an Associate Professor at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. His research has investigated the physiological capabilities of bats and other small mammals, from cold hibernative torpor to the intense demands of flight and high altitude, and the physiological ecology of bats. His teaching includes “Using SonoBat for Non-invasive Bat Monitoring” for the University of California, “Biology of the Chiroptera” at Humboldt State University, and “The Ecology and Conservation of California Bats” through San Francisco State University. Joe has also taught acoustic monitoring workshops for BCI and other groups in California, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. He is the developer of SonoBat software to analyze and interpret bat echolocation calls and is currently working on automated bird and bat acoustic monitoring and identification methods for the Department of Defense (SERDP) and other agencies.

Janet Tyburec, B.A. Biology and B.A. English (1989) Trinity University, a full-time employee at Bat Conservation International, Inc. (BCI), from 1989 thru September 2002, has been involved in the structure and execution of training workshops since the inception of BCI's educational efforts in 1992. She received extensive training in bat ecology and research from BCI founder, Merlin D. Tuttle. She has been a contract employee for BCI since 2002 and has also taught field workshops for Bat Conservation and Management (BCM) since 2007. Over the years, she has personally trained over 2,500 wildlife biologists, land managers, and students of conservation in the course of presenting over 150 field workshops. She is currently a private contractor and provides training and instruction on bat research, inventory, and monitoring for numerous private, federal and state agencies, including the USDA Forest Service, USDI National Park Service, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Defense. Through these efforts she has designed and conducted custom training workshops for agency directors, staff, wildlife biologists, resource managers, seasonal employees, and volunteers.

John Chenger president of Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. (BCM), has worked with the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) to conduct cave and mine assessments and other bat inventories. He has also worked with BCI since 1997 to facilitate training workshops in Arizona, California, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. He founded BCM in 1999 to address nuisance bat management issues by providing man-made roosts and performing bat-exclusion and bat- proofing services. His company has grown to include seasonal bat roost and habitat surveys, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) endangered species compliance inventories, acoustic monitoring studies, and large-scale migratory bat radio-tracking projects. His work has led him to develop and manufacture commercially available survey gear including mist net poles, portable triple-high mist-net sets, harp traps, and bat houses certified by BCI. He has also served as Director of Interpretation at Laurel Caverns for 5 years.

David Riggs, B.S. Computer Science (2007) West Virginia University, has over 12 years professional experience as a Software Engineer, developing software for Lockheed Martin, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Science Applications International Corp. As a Joint Venturer with the Cave Research Foundation, he as surveyed and performed resource inventory for the National Park Service (NPS) in both the longest and deepest caves in the United States. Since 2007, he has served as part-time field technician for Bat Conservation and Management's cave hibernacula and acoustic monitoring projects. As founder of Myotisoft, he currently serves as the North American service center for Pettersson bat detectors, produces software solutions for the management and analysis of bat acoustic data, and provides consulting services for the development of acoustic protocols.

Lectures and demonstrations cover a full range of bat echolocation and acoustic monitoring subjects, with a focus on the use of SonoBat software for designing inventory and monitoring programs for bats. Topics will include:

Introduction to bat bio-acoustics, echolocation, and bat detectors

Hands-on demonstration with available bat detector models

Bat detector use in the field for active and passive monitoring

Bat monitoring program designs and choosing the right bat detector for the job

Introduction to SonoBat software for recording and signal analysis

Call characteristics for bat identification on the basis of echolocation calls

Auto-classification using SonoBat 3.0, data handling, file storage, and interpretation

Evening Practicums:
Instructors will provide guided, hands-on demonstrations during evening and nighttime field practicums. Participants will work in small groups for added opportunity for individual instruction. Topics will include:

Active monitoring using bat detectors, tips for following bats

Key morphological characteristics to help identify bats “on the wing”

Deployment tips to improve recording quality and confident classifications

Passive setups using bat detectors and digital audio recorders (e.g., Pettersson D240x and Samson Zoom)

Passive deployment of direct recording detectors (e.g., Binary Acoustics Technology AR125 & iFR-IV, Pettersson D500x & D1000x, Wildlife Acoustics SM2BAT+ & EM3)

Implementing mobile acoustic transects

Addressing power, security, and weatherproofing for long-term, passive deployments


Departing for a walking transect past cave entrances thru grey bat swarms.


Rig your vehicle, conduct mobile transects, then visualize results the next day using Transect & Google Earth


BCM field workshops involve working with live bats. Assist with spotlighting and light-tagging live bats


Processing previous night's data using SonoBat 3.

Eastern Bat Acoustics
Field Techniques Workshop

Location and Directions: Park Mammoth Resort, Park City, Kentucky. To be explicit and avoid confusion, be aware that Park Mammoth Resort is not afilliated with the adjacent Mammoth Cave National Park. Please see map at http://www.parkmammothresort.us/contact.htm

Dates and times: September 8 (Sunday) thru September 12 (Thursday). Check-in begins at noon on September 8, at the Park Mammoth Resort conference room. The first classroom session begins promptly at 1pm. Formal presentations will conclude by noon on Thursday September 12. NOTE: Park Mammoth Resort is in the Central Time Zone.

Park Mammoth Resort Lodging:
Overnight lodging is available at the resort in the same building where lectures are scheduled. Each room has a double bed and private bath for $80.00 a night. Contact reservations at (270) 749-4101 or visit the Park Mammoth website to reserve a room during the course or for more information on resort amenities.

Off-site Lodging:
The Mammoth Cave area is rich in history as a tourist destination, as such there are numerous hotels in nearby Park City and particularly Cave City for all budgets. You can even sleep in a wigwam. We suggest Google for a list of off-site hotel locations.

General Equipment: Participants need to bring appropriate field gear, including hiking boots, a headlamp with batteries, a personal pack, and a water bottle. Participants will not handle bats at this workshop, so participants do not need rabies pre-exposure vaccination. Field locations may be cool in the fall, please bring a jacket and dress appropriately for evening activities. We will be visiting natural cave entrances, but not physically entering them, therefore WNS decontamination is not required.

Acoustic Equipment: Students should bring personal bat recording gear, laptops and connecting cables. We will have a number of full-spectrum bat detectors available including a number of Pettersson D240x and D500x detectors for participants to borrow. We will also have several Wildlife Acoustics SM2BAT+ and EM3 units available. There will be smaller numbers of Pettersson D1000x, Binary Acoustic Technology AR125 and iFR-IV models, and an Elekon Batlogger to demo. A generous, fully functional trial version of SonoBat 3 will be available to install on student laptops prior to the workshop. It is important to take advantage of this opportunity PRIOR to arrival to participate fully in the guided software demonstrations and post-processing of field recordings.
Participants who have already invested in a detector brand or model should bring it to the class. Being familiar with the basic operation of the detector and how to connect it to a laptop and/or off-load recordings to a laptop prior to the workshop is helpful. Please bring any appropriate digital media storage devices (2GB or larger is suggested) to collect recordings and/or share data. One field trip will include a mobile (driving or walking) transect; students may use their own equipment during this exercise, and should be sure to consider power and portability issues. AnaBat users interested in the full spectrum detectors and SonoBat workflow are welcome. However, remember that SonoBat is not compatible with AnaBat recordings. AnaBat software and workflow necessitates its own dedicated workshop to cover comprehensively and therefore will not be formally covered at this workshop due to time constraints.

Meals: Dinners on 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th are included with the registration fee. Lunches are provided on the 9th, 10th, and 11th. Please indicate below if you require vegetarian meals. All other meals are "on your own." Many restaurant options are available within 15 minutes of Park Mammoth Resort, and Park Mammoth's restaurant is open for breakfast every day.

Please note, field logistics force us to limit workshop attendance. Registration and payment is required to reserve your slot! Full payment must be received before August 1 to confirm your reservation. Reservations cannot be held without payment. After August 1, reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, only if space is still available. Daily rates for this event are not available. Fees are not refundable after August 1, 2013 but are transferable to another participant for this course only, if you are unable to attend. Please note, if you do not cancel and do not attend, you are still responsible for payment.

Meals not specifically indicated as included, transportation to and from the workshop location, parking, and lodging expenses are not included.

Dressing in layers is recommended due to room temperature variations.

Please, no audio or video recording.

Presentations, agendas, and field locations are subject to change without notice according to group dynamics and local conditions.

If the purpose of attending a BCM workshop is to help you maintain or improve skills related to employment or business, expenses related to the programs may be tax-deductible according to I.R.C. Reg. 1.162-5. Please consult your tax advisor.

Eastern Bat Acoustic Field Techniques Workshop Goals

The first day has three main goals:

1. To bring everyone up to speed on the physics of sound, how bats use different call types to collect information about their surroundings, and what this means to our eventual goal of identifying bats to species based on cues we collect from echolocation calls.

2. To provide participants with a template for data-organization and file storage allowing more efficient post-processing for the remainder of the workshop.

3. To give everyone experience working with different detector models from the main manufactures, allowing participants to test-drive unfamiliar units and/or make an informed future purchase.

The second day has five goals:

1. A review of the pros, cons, and applications of HET, FD, TE, and DR detectors to collect and interpret bat echolocation calls and what this means for acoustic inventory study design.

2. A discussion of active vs. passive monitoring and how these techniques figure into an acoustic survey.

3. Addressing bat echolocation call characteristics and what is known about using these for making species ID determinations, including caveats, and confusing species.

4. A review of (or introduction to) basic SonoBat 2.9 use.

5. Assisting participants with setting up TE and DR detectors and recorders to perform PASSIVE monitoring activities.

The third day has three goals:

1. Explaining the importance of call libraries, understanding species-specific echolocation call repertoires, and the need for experience with active monitoring, call collections from known species, and time in the field with the bats and the detectors BEFORE trying to manually (or automatically) identify unknown bat calls to species.

2. Assisting participants with the different workflows for off-loading collected calls collected with different passive recording methods, before using SonoBat 2.9 to organize, group and analyze calls.

3. Introducing students to SonoBat 3.0, basic operations, and what the output means for rendering species ID decisions (i.e., dispelling the quickly emerging myth and explaining carefully that calls identified with a DP of 0.95 DOES NOT mean that there's a 95% chance that the recording was from the species indicated).

The fourth day has three main goals:

1. Continued guided hands-on experience with the software to verify species ID classifications, managing the SonoBatch data output, and vetting results of the auto-classifier.

2. Protocols for reporting on inventory and monitoring programs using acoustics, determining species occupancy, and understanding ambiguous results.

3. Steps to convert full-spectrum recordings to Zero-cross format and workflow for analysis in EchoClass and BCID software programs

The fifth day has two main goals:

1. The current and future applications of acoustic monitoring for bat surveys, new technologies on the horizon, and responsible use of automated classifiers.

2. Emphasizing responsible use of auto-classification tools for acoustic surveys and answering any lingering questions students have with the detectors, recorders, software, and/or analysis.

d500xandmic AR125T

BCM workshops introduce users to all of today's most popular full spectrum bat detectors
with hands-on opportunities to use the following brands, models, and software:

Pettersson D240x, D500x, D1000x
Binary Acoustic Technology AR125 & iFR-IV
Wildlife Acoustics SM2BAT+ & EM3
Elekon Batlogger

SonoBat • Transect • BatSound • BCID • EchoClass • Kaleidoscope