Acoustic and Genetic Approaches for Informing Population Status and Trends of Migratory Tree Bats

Cris Hein, Amanda Hale, Bethany Straw

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Through the systematic collection of acoustic and genetic data over time, a weight of evidence may be built that will support an improved understanding around population stability for migratory tree-roosting bat species. This information can be leveraged to infer the influence stressors have on population stability, and subsequently determine the level of response necessary to sustain healthy populations. Here, we synthesize the existing information related to bat population status and trends, uncertainty regarding existing estimates, current and novel methods for assessing population-level data, and recommendations for near-term and long-term studies to reduce uncertainty surrounding population data. Although this report focuses on wind energy development and bats, the methods used are broadly applicable and are being implemented by other industries, academia, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. Through efforts outside of the wind energy industry, it is likely we will gain a better understanding of bat populations, but the pace of data collection and analysis will be expedited by further participation by the wind energy industry. In return, the wind energy industry will benefit by contributing to these efforts either by 1) discovering that the population status of the species of interest is stable or growing, which may prevent the need for listing one or more species; or 2) recognizing the population status of certain species is in decline and implementing relatively moderate measures to reduce wind turbine-related mortality in the near term to stave off more stringent measures, which may be necessary if action is delayed.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages39
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-78563


  • acoustic monitoring
  • bats
  • genetics
  • genomics
  • populations


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