Bat Ecology in the Central Coast Region of California

Winifred Frick & Gage Dayton – Frick Lab

Positions: 1 intern

Tentative dates: May – August 2021

Project location: Central Coast of California, including selected UC Reserves and surrounding habitats near UC Santa Cruz

Project description: Bats are a diverse group of mammals, yet their cryptic, nocturnal habits can make them challenging to study. Threats to bats in North America, including the invasive fungal disease White-nose Syndrome, direct mortality from wind energy facilities, and pervasive changes to land-use have raised concerns for a need to assess population status and trends for bat species at local, regional, and continental scales. The Frick Lab works closely with the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat), a continent-wide program that uses standardized sampling protocols to sample for bat use across habitat types and assess bat population patterns over time and space. In summer 2021, we will be working with the new Pacific West NABat Hub to conduct extensive acoustic surveys for bat species across priority areas located in the central coast region of California. This project will involve collaboration with Bat Conservation International, the NABat Monitoring Program, and the UC Reserve system.

Intern duties: Internship duties will include fieldwork involving placing acoustic recorders to sample acoustic bat activity in different habitat types in the Central Coast and on selected UC Reserve locations. Local-scale research questions will be led by the intern based on identified interests, focusing on questions related to bat community composition and foraging activity in different habitat types in the Central Coast region. Data will also be contributed to the broader NABat Monitoring program for use in long-term monitoring efforts to assess status and trends of bat populations over time. Duties will include travel to selected field sites, setting up and retrieving bat detectors, and analyzing data to assess activity patterns related to habitats. The intern will have the chance to work with collected acoustic data, although some of the data processing will be conducted via the NABat National Data Processing Lab via Conservation Metrics, Inc. Fieldwork may include opportunities to capture bats with mist-nets, but will depend on covid-era regulations that reduce chance for human-to-wildlife pathogen transmission.

Intern qualifications: Intern should be comfortable and capable of driving alone to selected field sites, including as far from UCSC as Big Creek Reserve or Blue Oak Reserve. Student should have experience and enthusiasm for managing and working with data in spreadsheets and creating data visualizations (preferably in Program R). An interest in learning specialized software programs and understanding acoustic data and signal classification is helpful.

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?
Volunteering in spring quarter would provide time to learn background information and plan field sampling to maximize fieldwork in the summer.

UC Santa Cruz Land Acknowledgement

The land from which we base our work is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.