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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center


Estimating the spatial distribution of wintering little brown bat populations in the eastern United States

Russell, R. E., Tinsley, K., Erikson, R. A., Thogmartin, W. E. and Szymanski, J., 2014, Estimating the spatial distribution of wintering little brown bat populations in the eastern United States. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1215


 Depicting the spatial distribution of wildlife species is an important first step in developing management and conservation programs for particular species. Accurate representation of a species distribution is important for predicting the effects of climate change, land-use change, management activities, disease, and other landscape-level processes on wildlife populations. We developed models to estimate the spatial distribution of little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) wintering populations in the United States east of the 100th meridian, based on known hibernacula locations. From this data, we developed several scenarios of wintering population counts per county that incorporated uncertainty in the spatial distribution of the hibernacula as well as uncertainty in the size of the current little brown bat population. We assessed the variability in our results resulting from effects of uncertainty. Despite considerable uncertainty in the known locations of overwintering little brown bats in the eastern United States, we believe that models accurately depicting the effects of the uncertainty are useful for making management decisions as these models are a coherent organization of the best available information.


Bats, decision-making, Myotis lucifugus, spatial modeling, species distribution modeling, white-nose syndrome

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