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. Yet there is little data on bat population sizes and trends to provide context for understanding the consequences of mortality due to wind power development. Using a large dataset of both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA variation for eastern red bats, we demonstrated that: 1) 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; 2) the effective size of this population is in the hundreds of thousands to millions; and 3) for large populations, genetic diversity measures and at least one coalescent method are insensitive to even very high rates of population decline over long time scales and until population size has become very small. Our data provide important context for understanding the population-level impacts of wind power development on affected bat species.
Genetic Approaches to Understanding the Population-Level Impact of Wind Energy Development on Migratory Bats
Title: Genetic Approaches to Understanding the Population-Level Impact of Wind Energy Development on Migratory Bats
September 30, 2013
Document Number: DOE--WMU-0533
Vonhof, M.; Russell, A. (2013). Genetic Approaches to Understanding the Population-Level Impact of Wind Energy Development on Migratory Bats. Report by Western Michigan University. pp 27.