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State Wildlife Grant - T2-5-R

Project Overview
Project Title
Distribution and Habitat Use of the Bats of North Dakota
Target Species
All bat species
Sept. 2009 – Dec. 2011
Dr. Erin Gillam, North Dakota State University

Project Description

Bats are an integral component of a variety of ecosystems found in North Dakota. As nocturnal insectivores, bats can have significant impacts on the size of insect prey populations, including some pest species that cause major damage to agricultural and forest habitats. Despite their importance, little work has focused on assessing the distribution and habitat use of bats in North Dakota. Ten species of bats have been reported in the state, three of which are listed as Species of Conservation Priority by the ND Game and Fish Department. The most recent peer-reviewed research study on any bat in the state was published in 1978. Further, most previous studies only report the occurrence of a species in one area of the state, contain few capture records, and provide little or no information about habitat use. With increasing modification of natural landscapes, it is critical to not only determine where bats are found in North Dakota, but also to understand what types of habitats are essential for the foraging and roosting needs of each species. Gathering such information will be crucial for developing an effective bat conservation and management plan for the state.