Advanced Bat Study
Techniques Workshop

Patuxent Research Refuge • September 7-10, 2010

The reality of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) in bats across the Northeast has led to documented declines in bat populations. It has also created significant changes and challenges to bat research that will have ever-expanding implications. In response to growing needs for bat studies, especially in light of the current spread of WNS, Bat Conservation International, Inc. (BCI), Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. (BCM), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are hosting an Advanced Bat Capture Techniques Workshop at the Patuxent Research Refuge.

The Refuge includes one of the largest remaining forested areas in the mid-Atlantic region, with 12,800 acres of wild-lands nestled between the Baltimore-Washington metro area. The facility has been largely un-surveyed for bats, and will give workshop participants valuable, hands-on experiences with designing and carrying out an efficient, comprehensive, effective bat inventory.

This Advanced Capture Techniques Workshop highlights the most current bat research and study techniques in conjunction with WNS decontamination, disinfection, and summer survey protocols adopted by regional state and federal agencies. This course is designed to "put it all together" ensuring that biologists spending time in the field maximize their efforts to take a more meaningful look at the bats on the landscape and collect critical information about remaining populations.

Advanced Bat Study Techniques
BCI and BCM are working together to offer a 4-day Advanced Capture Techniques workshop” designed specifically for wildlife biologists, researchers, and consultants needing assistance with implementing bat monitoring programs. This course is meant for graduates of past courses developed by BCI and/or BCM, or for bat-workers, biologists, consultants, or researchers with previous in-field bat survey experience. During the 4-day program, participants will work together in teams to visit field sites and carry out physical capture efforts that are combined with both active and passive bat-detector monitoring and mobile acoustic transects as a part of a comprehensive bat inventory plan. All work will be conducted while implementing summer survey protocols designed to investigate and prevent the spread of WNS. Upon completion of each survey night, students will report on their findings and adjust the inventory protocols if necessary to maximize capture success during subsequent efforts. Data resulting from these investigations could be distilled into an important snapshot of bat population health in the area or form the basis of a long-term monitoring program to help understand resident bat species at a population level for the Refuge and perhaps region-wide. The workshop will combine lecture, discussion, and hands-on demonstrations with nighttime training exercises providing closely supervised, guided instruction highlighting inventory techniques using nets, traps, acoustic equipment, and important in-field WNS decontamination and disinfection methods. Note: To handle bats during this course, participants will be required to provide proof of rabies pre-exposure vaccination or current acceptable titer level (see below).

Workshop participants will receive hands-on assembly experience with single-, double-, and triple-high mist nets as well as harp traps and deploy arrays of multiple nets and traps each night. Physical captures will be paired with active and passive acoustic monitoring using bat detectors in both stationary and mobile configurations. Each team will share responsibilities for capturing, handling, and identifying bats, collecting echolocation calls, recording low-light, digital video, and data processing on all bats. On-site WNS decontamination protocols will be taught as well as post-inventory gear and equipment disinfection. Note: All participants will be given additional information about how to prepare for WNS activities and what to bring to aid in the decontamination/disinfection requirements.

Minimum Requirements
and Qualifications

Participants may attend this course without handling bats to obtain training with audio and video inventories. All participants should bring a laptop with spreadsheet software, presentation software, video-editing software, and acoustic analysis software (optional) to participant in team activities and must also have the following experiences in order to perform the tasks planned during this course:

1. Competency with handling and identifying bats though on-the-job training and/or previous BCI/BCM workshop attendance.

2. Competency with setting single-, double-, and triple-high net sets; and assembling and deploying AustBat and/or BCM harp traps.

- or -

3. Experience with and access to one or more of the following acoustic systems: (a) AnaBat/AnaLook, (b) Pettersson D240x/SonoBat, (c) Pettersson D500x/SonoBat, or (d) BAT AR125/Spect'r

4. Experience with using video recording equipment and video editing software for documenting bat presence.

Lectures/Discussions: Review of USFWS Indiana myotis survey and WNS protocols; summary of capture techniques, applications and biases; use of acoustic equipment, choosing the correct detector(s) for the job, and implementing mobile acoustic transects; addition of video monitoring as an inventory technique, protocols, and applications; and data-basing, interpreting, and archiving capture records. Note: A detailed agenda will be mailed to all participants upon registration. A draft agenda is available upon request from the program leaders (see below).

Daily field exercises will provide students with closely supervised, hands-on training with bat capture in addition to acoustic monitoring techniques using various bat detector and analysis packages. Single-, double-, and triple-high mist net deployment, triple-high mist net rigging and use, harp trap assembly and deployment, acoustic monitoring techniques using AnaBat, Pettersson, and Binary Acoustic Technologies detectors, echolocation call recording using AnaBat, SonoBat and Spect'r software programs, hand-release protocols for obtaining reference calls of bats including light-tagging and zip-lining, tips for comprehensive and efficient in-field data collection, basic echolocation call analysis, and data-collection protocols to meet minimum federal and state requirements.

Program Leaders
John Chenger of Bat Conservation and Management, Inc., will be leading a team of BCM staff during all study and capture technique components at this workshop. He has been catching bats for over 18 years and radio tracking bats since 2000. In 2007-2009 alone, he and his staff have conducted over 1000 nights of netting and trapping in conjunction with surveys and monitoring projects in seven states. Also, in 2008-2009 BCM completed five Indiana bat and three eastern small-footed bat radio telemetry studies.

This workshop is co-led by 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 has worked in the Northeast since 1994 and is currently sobered by the devastation wrought by WNS.

Download: Participant Arrival Package
Includes Liability Form, Packing List, WNS User Agreement, and Draft Agenda

Download: Lodging list
Download: Map and Driving Directions
Download: General Patuxent RR brochure

Advanced Bat Capture
Techniques Workshop
Patuxent Research Refuge National Wildlife Visitor Center, Laurel, MD

Dates: September 7-10 (Tuesday thru Friday). Registration opens at noon. Program begins 1 PM September 7 to midnight (or later) each day. The program will conclude by 1 PM September 10.

Lodging: There are at least 16 national chain hotels within 10 miles of Patuxent, with the closest being a Red Roof Inn in Laurel, MD three miles from Patuxent (800-843-7663, approximately $60/night). Please download the hotel list for other options.

Equipment: Participants need to bring appropriate field gear, including hiking boots, bat-handling gloves, a headlamp with batteries, a personal pack, and a water bottle. We may be netting over shallow streams so appropriate footwear is suggested. A detailed list of how to prepare for and what to bring to the course will be mailed to participants upon registration.

Meals: One meal is provided on September 7, 8, and 9 included with the registration fee (special dietary needs may be accommodated with advance notice). There is no food service available at the Refuge, and gates are locked after 4:30 PM so please bring snacks. More meal info will be available on Day 1.

Materials: Registration fee includes workshop materials, references, resources, meals as listed above, and a curriculum that covers all agenda topics.

Fee: $479.00