The purpose the Northern Bat Working Group (NBWG) is to share new information and knowledge among those working with bats in northern Canada and Alaska. Interest in bats in the north is increasing, and the working group is intended to connect bat workers across this vast region. The working group has not formalized a precise geographic region that encompasses “the north,” and welcomes participants from Alaska and northwestern Canada, including the northern boreal portions of western provinces and the Pacific coast, including Haida Gwaii. The NBWG is a largely informal group organized under the Western Bat Working Group. The group currently has 75 members; Karen Blejwas (Alaska Department of Fish and Game) and Jesika Reimer (Alaska Center for Conservation Science) serve as co-chairs.
In April 2012, Link Olson (UAM) and Karen Blejwas (ADF&G) organized a session entitled “Bat Ecology in Alaska – Assessing the Risk of White-nose Syndrome” at the meeting of the Alaska Chapter of the Wildlife Society in Anchorage, Alaska. Presentations by researchers from Alaska and Canada provided an excellent overview of the state of our knowledge about northern bats. In the afternoon, biologists and managers from Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and British Columbia gathered together for a working session. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet face-to-face and discuss the issues and challenges that are unique to northern bats. Tom Jung (Yukon) and Cori Lausen (British Columbia) encouraged the group to take the next step and form a Northern Bat Working Group – so we did!
Activity to Date
- Formation of a listserve to connect group members.
- NBWG members Link Olson (UAM) and Tom Jung (Yukon) edited a special issue of Northwestern Naturalist entitled “Recent Advances in Bat Research in Northwestern Canada and Alaska” that was published in December 2014.
- Several teleconferences have been held to update participants on research and monitoring activities.
- A first meeting was held in Juneau on April 13, 2015.
- An assessment using the IUCN threats matrix was initiated for northern bats (broken out by species and LCC) at the April 13, 2015, meeting (ongoing).
- A second meeting was held in Anchorage on March 29th, 2016. Abstracts and session descriptions will be posted on the website in the near future.
- Establishment of a webpage to share information and resources and keep group members up to date on existing and planned research.
For more information please contact Karen Blejwas (karen.blejwas (at) alaska.gov) or Jesika Reimer (jpreimer (at) uaa.alaska.edu).