Fostering research, education, and collaboration on biological conservation and natural resource management in Alaska and the Arctic
Small Mammal and Bat Ecology
Small mammals and bats are integral components of food webs. They are a primary food source for many predators and serve ecological functions such as seed dispersal and nutrient cycling. However, they receive less attention than game species and other managed species, leading to a lack of comprehensive information on their ecology and conservation status. In Alaska, this lack of information is exacerbated by the challenges associated with accessing remote field locations and the difficulty in capturing and observing rare and elusive species. More than 80 small mammal taxa have been described in Alaska, of which more than half (43 taxa) are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Many of these taxa depend on tundra or alpine ecosystems, which are under increasing threat from a changing climate.
We are currently involved in bat research throughout Alaska and monitor a network of little brown myotis maternity colonies. We perform emergence counts and mist-netting surveys at colonies in interior, southeast, and southcentral Alaska. Additionally, we assist home owners with building their own artificial bat roosts. We are partners with the ADF&G Threatened, Endangered and Diversity program. They have a citizen science monitoring program where you can report your sightings online.
In 2012, the Northern Bat Working Group was established to foster communication and collaboration among bat researchers in Alaska. The group currently has 75 members and is co-chaired by Karen Blejwas (ADF&G) and Jesika Reimer (ACCS).