SonoBat Acoustic
Monitoring Workshop

Jumonville Christian Camp and Retreat Center
Laurel Caverns Geological Park • October 4-7, 2010

In response to growing needs for bat acoustic studies, Bat Conservation and Management, Inc., SonoBat, and Laurel Caverns Geological Park, are hosting a SonoBat Acoustic Monitoring Workshop at Laurel Caverns, a 435-acre park surrounded by state forest and state game lands in Pennsylvania’s scenic Allegheny Mountain Region. The park is likely home to all nine species of bats found in the Northeastern U.S. and is a historic Indiana bat wintering site. Lectures will be given "off-site" at the nearby Jumonville Christian Camp and Retreat Center, its location is rich in American history as the flashpoint of the French and Indian War. This Acoustic Workshop highlights current research techniques focusing especially on the use of the latest full spectrum, bat recording equipment and call analysis using the SonoBat 3 software.

Program Details
This workshop will introduce participants to noninvasive acoustic monitoring and species identification of bats. The workshop will begin with the fundamentals of acoustics to interpret the biology and ecology of echolocation to understand how bats use sound and how we can interlope into this realm to survey and monitor bats. From this foundation, participants will then learn the theory and practice of recording and analyzing ultrasonic bat vocalizations to interpret bat activity and species presence.

Field outings will provide hands-on experience in deploying and acquiring data to process. This workshop will demonstrate tools and techniques for both short term and long-term passive monitoring of bats and automated data processing.

During the four-day, three-night agenda, participants will learn the acoustic characteristics of eastern North American bats essential for species discrimination. This workshop will emphasize full spectrum acoustic techniques as recommended by the new USFWS guidelines for Wind and Wildlife when species ID is important.

One session: October 4-7 (Monday-Thursday). Class size: Limited to 20 students. Location: Laurel Caverns Geological Park, Farmington, PA.

Laurel Caverns
Situated on a spur of Chestnut Ridge overlooking the Ohio Valley towards Pittsburgh, Laurel Caverns is the longest mapped commercial cave in in Pennsylvania with 2.228 miles of explored passages. With an elevation change of 464 feet, Laurel Caverns is by far the deepest cave in Pennsylvania, although no vertical drops are necessary to reach the bottom. The cave can be thought of as two distinct sections, a complex maze located near the Visitor Center and a series of large trunk passages descending partway down the mountain. Historically the cave harbored an estimated 100,000 overwintering bats including the now federally endangered Indiana bat. Our workshop will enter the Upper Cave once for a orientation and private tour (no special equipment or clothing is necessary), and we will enjoy the fall swarm during the evening at the Historic Entrance.

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 extraordinary 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, that is, the integrated effects of the environment upon the organism. 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 developing automated bird and bat acoustic monitoring and identification methods for the Department of Defense (SERDP) and other agencies.  

Janet Tyburec, B.A., (Trinity University, San Antonio TX). Janet was Director of Education Programs at Bat Conservation International, Inc. (Austin TX), for 15 years. She is currently a contract instructor for Bat Conservation International’s “Bat Conservation and Management Training Workshops” in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and California where she teaches wildlife biologists, educators, and other professionals field skills for bat research and conservation. She’s worked in Pennsylvania since 1994 and dreams about the day that Myotis sodalis can be down-listed.

John Chenger of Bat Conservation and Management, Inc., has been catching bats for over 17 years and radio tracking bats since 2000. In 2009 and 2010 alone, he and his staff have conducted over 1000 nights of netting and trapping in conjunction with surveys and monitoring projects in six states. He has also served as Director of Interpretation at Laurel Caverns for 5 years.

Echolocation 101: The principles and biomechanics of echolocation; how bats use sound; the advantages/disadvantages of echolocation; what animals use ultrasound, why, and how; why bat calls are different from bird calls (and more difficult to discriminate), and more

The mechanics of sound and how it carries information; wave theory: frequency, velocity, amplitude; frequency and spatial resolution; what bats can detect; what they can't
call morhpology and foraging strategies; the ecophysiology of echolocation; how noise (and other bats) affects echolocation
- Advantages/limitations of capture methods
- Advantages/limitations of acoustic methods
- What information can be acquired acoustically
- Where and how to collect calls; practical advice
- Monitoring program design, implementation, and data analysis

Understanding bat detectors, how they work, and limitations and advantages: heterodyne, zero-crossing, frequency division, time expansion/ full-spectrum. Advances in acoustic recording technology, methods, and analysis
- active vs. passive monitoring
- automated recording

Recording Engineering 101- setting up to acquire data
Understanding and using digital sound recording; recording, recording settings; notes and filenaming
equipment connections; manual call recording; monitoring and triggering; recognizing and avoiding sources of unwanted ultrasound
automated call recording; digital recorders and computers.

Call and sequence morphology and terminology; sequence (i.e., bat pass) information; call information; interpreting call morphology; call parameters; distortion and quality; harmonics; recording limitations; out of range calls; mimicry; call plasticity and vocal repertoires; species characteristics of eastern North American bats; troublesome species; knowing when to NOT make the call

Setting up a study; study design; sample size; temporal and spatial aspects; analysis; site selection and recording logistics; Set up recording equipment,


SonoBat Acoustic
Monitoring Workshop

Location and Directions: Jumonville Christen Camp and Retreat Center, Uniontown PA. Please see map at http://www.jumonville.org/directions.html

Dates: October 4-7 (Monday thru Thursday). Acoustic Monitoring Program begins at 1 PM at the Inn located on the Jumonville campus Monday, October 4. Jumonville has many historic buildings on campus so please familiarize yourself with the Inn :http://www.jumonville.org/fl.inn.html

Camping: Tent or small trailers (25' or less) at Laurel Caverns itself. Hot showers and electric sites available. The campground is a loop on the left as you approach the entrance gate. Black bears and raccoons are nightly visitors so please keep all food in cars and remove trash off site.

Jumonville Lodging:
Overnight lodging is available at the Inn in the same building where lectures are scheduled. Each room has a double bed and private bath for $70.00 a night. No smoking or credit cards accepted; cash or check only. Contact Mary at (800) 463-7688. To reserve a room, you may have to send a check in as a deposit to Mary at Jumonville, 887 Jumonville Rd., Hopwood, PA 15445. http://www.jumonville.org/contact.html

Off-site Lodging:
(Lodging less than a 10 minute drive from either Jumonville or Laurel Caverns)

Summit Inn - www.summitinnresort.com - (800) 433-8594
Hopwood Motel - www.thehopwoodmotel.com - (724) 437-7591
Lodge at Chalk Hill - www.thelodgeatchalkhill.com - (800) 833-4283

Lodging along Route 40 west of Uniontown
(<20 minutes from either Jumonville or Laurel Caverns)

Super 8 Uniontown - www.super8.com - (724) 425-0261
Fairfield Inn Uniontown - marriott.com - (724) 434-1800
Hampton Inn Uniontown - www.hamptoninn.com - (724) 430-1000
Heritage Inn of Uniontown - www.heritage-inn.com - (724) 437-7829
Mount Vernon Inn Motel - (724) 437-2704

General Equipment: Participants need to bring appropriate field gear, including hiking boots, a headlamp with batteries, a personal pack, and a water bottle. No bats will be handled at this workshop, so participants do not need rabies pre-exposure vaccination. The location is a mountaintop in the fall, please bring a jacket and dress appropriately for evening activities.

Acoustic Equipment: Please bring your personal bat recording gear, laptops and connecting cables. We will have a number of Pettersson D240x detectors for participants to lend, and a demo AR125 and SM2BAT. Functional trials of SonoBat will be available to install on your laptop for this workshop to get you quickly up and running. Being familiar with the basic operation of your detector and successfully test connecting to your laptop prior to the workshop is helpful.

Meals: Working dinners on 4th, 5th, and 6th are included with the registration fee. Working lunches are provided on the 5th and 6th. Please indicate below if you require vegetarian meals. All other meals are "on your own". Many restaurant options are available within 20 minutes of Jumonville.

SonoBat Acoustic Monitoring Workshop Goals

The first day has two 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 get everyone comfortable with the use and applications of HET, TE, and DR detectors in the field to do ACTIVE monitoring that night.

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, 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 two main goals:

1. Give participants more time to use SonoBat 3.0 and understand how to interpret the output by running passively collected calls thru the classifier so they can become comfortable with the workflow and with understanding the powers and limitations of the results.

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.