J. Judson Wynne



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Publication Date

May 2015


Submitted to:Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, National Park Service 345 E. Riverside Dr. St. George, Utah 84790 Submitted by:J. Judson Wynne, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences Colorado Plateau Biodiversity Center Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ 86011 Submitted under: Task Agreement # H1200-09-0005 Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit Northern Arizona University Abstract:Addressing a knowledge gap concerning the winter ecology of bats on Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in preparation for the western advance of white-nose syndrome (WNS), this paper provides a summary of a three-year study to estimate population trends of two known cave-roosting bat hibernacula (PARA-0901 and PARA-1401 Caves). Beginning in 2011, we sampled all caves (total 11) likely to support hibernating bats on both Parashant and adjacent BLM lands. Through this effort, colleagues and I identified two hibernacula and three torpor roosts. All but one torpor roost was located on Parashant. The two hibernacula caves became the focus of work in subsequent years (2012 and 2013). Total numbers of hibernating bats ranged from 44 to 51 in PARA-0901 Cave, and four to 17 in PARA-1401 Cave. Most of the bats detected were Corynorhinus townsendii with Myotis sp. infrequently detected in both caves. No visible signs of white-nose syndrome (WNS) were observed during the three-year period on either hibernating bats visually examined or in post-field examination of photographs. Analysis of six sediment samples (with 1 control on surface) from PARA- 0901 Cave tested negative for Pseudogymnoascus destructans (the fungus that causes WNS). In PARA-0901 Cave, the largest hibernaculum, we deployed 41 data loggers and in PARA-1001 Cave, a non-hibernaculum cave, we deployed 42 to collect rock surface temperature, ambient temperature, relative humidity and barometric pressure data for two years. For both PARA-0901 and PARA-1001, we collected 3D cartography data, 3D geospatial data of all microclimatic instrument locations, and 3D geospatial data of all observed hibernating bats. These data will be used to develop models to characterize how microhabitats are selected for hibernation. I will use these models to (a) parameterize habitat requirements of bat hibernacula for at least one cave and (b) simulate climate change effects on this cave to predict whether this roost will become unsuitable for bats at some point in the future. PARA-1401 Cave was gated in 2009; as a result, the roost is now protected. Presently, PARA- 0901 Cave lacks any safeguards. This cave is the largest known hibernacula on the monument (and in northern Arizona, in general) and is located within one mile of a frequently used cattle tank and corral and is within 300 feet of a single-track road. To best protect this roost, we recommend this cave be closed to recreational use and the lower chamber ultimately gated. Recommendations are also provided for the establishment of a Western states comprehensive sampling and monitoring strategy of hibernacula for early detection of WNS. Open Access - Permission by Author(s) See Extended description for more information.


United States, Bats, Cave Ecology









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