Do bats adapt to gates at abandoned mines?

June 20, 2018, Wiley
bat
Big eared townsend bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) Credit: Public Domain

Abandoned mines can serve as roost sites for bats, but because the mines pose serious risks to humans, officials often install gates at their entrances. With more than 80,000 abandoned mines in the southwestern United States, these subterranean habitats are important to bat survival as human disturbances from recreation and other activities at natural caves are affecting their use by bats.

A new Journal of Wildlife Management study found that most installed today do not impede usage of the site, with bats acclimating over time after gates are placed. The new findings are important because prior to the study, biologists knew little about the effect of gates on bat behavior.

Certain factors were more important than gate design in predicting the presence of some bat species, including elevation, portal area, number of mine levels and entrances. Although the researchers saw no difference in ' responses to gate height or material, less maneuverable bat species initially collided and landed more frequently on gates than did agile .

The findings will inform management on closure methods at caves and abandoned in the United States and beyond.

"Bats are often viewed negatively, but they are critical to our ecosystems," said lead author Dr. Carol Chambers, of Northern Arizona University. "Bats face many difficulties today, from white-nose syndrome to habitat loss. Our findings help protect these animals and keep humans safe."

Explore further: Feds won't designate critical habitat for threatened bat

More information: Journal of Wildlife Management (2018). DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21498

Related Stories

Fungus that's killing millions of bats 'isn't going away'

November 5, 2013

University of Illinois researchers say that an infectious and lethal cold-loving fungus that has killed an estimated 6 million bats in North America can persist indefinitely in caves whether there are bats in them or not.

Recommended for you

Apple pivot led by star-packed video service

March 25, 2019

With Hollywood stars galore, Apple unveiled its streaming video plans Monday along with news and game subscription offerings as part of an effort to shift its focus to digital content and services to break free of its reliance ...

How tree diversity regulates invading forest pests

March 25, 2019

A national-scale study of U.S. forests found strong relationships between the diversity of native tree species and the number of nonnative pests that pose economic and ecological threats to the nation's forests.

Scientists solve mystery shrouding oldest animal fossils

March 25, 2019

Scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered that 558 million-year-old Dickinsonia fossils do not reveal all of the features of the earliest known animals, which potentially had mouths and guts.

Earth's deep mantle flows dynamically

March 25, 2019

As ancient ocean floors plunge over 1,000 km into the Earth's deep interior, they cause hot rock in the lower mantle to flow much more dynamically than previously thought, finds a new UCL-led study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.