Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Virginia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Johnson, J.B., J.L. Rodgrigue and W.M. Ford. 2013. Nightly and yearly bat activity before and after white-nose syndrome on the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia, Tucker County, USA. USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station Research Paper NRS-Res Pap 24. 17 p.


In the central Appalachians, conservation concern about bat communities and their population status had become increasingly more significant with the advent and spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS). However, managers often are hampered in their response to WNS because of the lack pre-WNS local distribution, abundance or activity patterns for most bat species. At the Fernow Experimental Forest (FEF), Tucker County, West Virginia where bat research has been ongoing since the mid-1990s, we acoustically monitored bat activity a total of 20 nights each at four sites for four years; three years before and one year after WNS was detected locally to better assess those local patterns. Within sampling nights, activity of northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) peaked directly after sunset and declined throughout the night, whereas little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus) and Indiana myotis (Myotis sodalis) activity had a unimodal distribution that peaked in the middle of the night. Activity of many bat species differed among sample sites, and was highest at a small, artificial pond located on a dry ridgetop. Activity of little brown myotis, northern myotis, and Indiana myotis was lower post-WNS than pre-WNS, consistent with the species’ precipitous declines previously reported in WNS affected areas in the Northeast and upper portions of the mid-Atlantic.