Recent studies have provided insight into altitudinal migration patterns of bats in relation to climate change. Historically bats will undergo significant seasonal altitudinal migration from low elevations where they spend the spring and summer up to higher elevations for the winter hibernation. During the winter bats will hibernate, where they reach physiological states of reduced energy expenditure and enter a state called torpor. Bats that hibernate often use caves, mines, or rock crevices along canyons, and will periodically wake up from torpor to search for water. Over the last two semesters I have been using bat sonar detectors to track migration patterns and winter activity of Colorado bats in St. Vrain Canyon near Lyons, CO. There are three study sites where bat sonar recoding devices have been set up to record bat sonar. Every two weeks the memory cards and batteries in each detector were replaced and the data was analyzed in the lab on campus. The software used for analysis can sort and auto-analyze the different calls by species. This has told us how many individuals of each species were present at what time, which can be used to get an estimate of activity patterns throughout the migration and subsequent hibernation period. I predict that as we progressed from fall to winter the activity patterns at the lowest elevation site (Site 1) and intermediate site (Site 2) will decrease as bats move into upper elevations. I predict that on days when temperatures are above freezing there will be more bat activity as bats come out for water. In the spring the bats should return from the highest elevation site (Site 3) and more activity should be recorded post-hibernation. Initial data analysis suggests a trend that follows our predictions but additional analysis is needed to accept or reject the hypothesis.
Ward, Bryce E. and Adams, Rick, "Altitudinal Migration Patterns and Hibernation Activity in Colorado Bats" (2020). 2020 Undergraduate Presentations. 7.