Using Molecular Genetic Techniques to Investigate Colony Dynamics of the Endangered Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)
An Indiana bat in the hand of a scientist. FWS photo.
The need for accurate demographic information is great for the management and recovery of the Indiana bat. This project aims to evaluate the use of molecular tagging techniques to estimate population sizes in this species. We are interested in determining whether we can estimate abundance at one roost site throughout the summer using fecal DNA as a unique mark for mark-recapture population estimation models. We are also interested in determining if we can detect new individuals in the later part of the summer that would represent juveniles. This study is revealing that fecal pellets collected from Indiana bats are a good source of DNA that can be used successfully to estimate both colony size and number of juveniles recruiting into the population. This research is in collaboration with Indiana State University.