Presenting in Victoria, British Columbia
With the bat bridge research, Dr. Walker and her colleagues sampled guano under 225 bridges across Canada and the U.S. and used DNA metabarcoding to determine which bat species were present. They identified a total of 18 species, six of which were listed (i.e., designated endangered by national or international organizations). Because use of bridges by bats includes both day and night roosting, monitoring bridges using their non-invasive approach can successfully identify species.
They found that, like species accumulation curves and their previous work in mines, the more bridges sampled, the more species were detected. Their results show that this approach is productive for identifying use by bat species, including those that are listed. The most frequently detected listed species across states/provinces were the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the northern long-eared bat (M. septentrionalis). In the future, the Walker team will be analyzing another year of data from Canadian bridges to discover the bats that inhabit them.