Documented fatalities of bats at wind turbines have raised serious concerns about the future impacts of increased wind power development on populations of migratory bat species. However, for most bat species we have no knowledge of the size of populations and their demographic trends, the degree of structuring into discrete subpopulations, and whether different subpopulations use spatially segregated migratory routes. Here, we utilize genetic data from eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis), one of the species most highly affected by wind power development in North America, to (1) evaluate patterns of population structure across the landscape, (2) estimate effective population size (Ne), and (3) assess signals of growth or decline in population size. Using data on both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA variation, we demonstrate that this species forms a single, panmictic population across their range with no evidence for the historical use of divergent migratory pathways by any portion of the population. Further, using coalescent estimates we estimate that the effective size of this population is in the hundreds of thousands to millions of individuals. The high levels of gene flow and connectivity across the population of eastern red bats indicate that monitoring and management of eastern red bats must integrate information across the range of this species.
Genetic Approaches to the Conservation of Migratory Bats: A Study of the Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)
Title: Genetic Approaches to the Conservation of Migratory Bats: A Study of the Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)
May 28, 2015
Publisher: Vonhof and Russell
Vonhof, M.; Russell, A. (2015). Genetic Approaches to the Conservation of Migratory Bats: A Study of the Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis). PeerJ, 2015, 1-25.