Program Presenter: Samantha Hoff, Wildlife Technician for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation working in the field of bat conservation for the past five years, and Ph.D. student at the University at Albany. Her research involves studying northern long-eared bat populations across coastal communities in the northeast, including Long Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.
Formerly a common species, northern long-eared bats are now rarely encountered on the landscape throughout much of their range, due to devastating population declines resulting from white-nose syndrome. Since the arrival of this invasive fungal disease in 2006, northern long-eared bats have experienced rapid extirpation from hibernation sites, leading to a federal listing of Threatened in 2015. Despite this trend, recent evidence shows populations off the coast of the northeastern US are persisting despite exposure to the disease. Ongoing research investigating the mechanisms allowing these populations to persist includes tracking bats to find hibernation sites, studying winter activity patterns and the availability of prey, and testing for prevalence of the disease. Whichever factors may be contributing to survival, it is clear that Long Island is an important place for bat conservation. This is a FREE program.
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