Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc.

Cincinnati, OH, United States

Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc.

Cincinnati, OH, United States
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Boyles J.G.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Boyles E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Dunlap R.K.,Indiana Karst Conservancy | Johnson S.A.,Indianapolis | Brack V.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc.
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2017

Hibernation has long been known to be an energy bottleneck for temperate-zone bats. As such, considerable research effort has been expended to understand the physiological ecology of bat hibernation and the microclimates necessary for successful hibernation. Still, few long-term datasets of microclimate in bat hibernacula are available, and most descriptions of “optimal” hibernation sites are based on temporally or spatially limited datasets. Here, we summarize a long-term dataset of microclimate data from caves used by hibernating Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) to draw conclusions about our understanding of microclimate selection of hibernating bats more generally. Ambient temperature varied among and within most hibernation microsites across the season of hibernation. Microsites near entrances were strongly and rapidly affected by external climatic conditions, while sites deeper in caves were more weakly related to external temperatures and show a greater lag time in response to those conditions. Comparison of microclimate and concurrent population counts suggests that bats select mid-winter microsites with a wider range of environmental conditions than is often stated; mid-winter survey counts increased between 1983 and 2011 in both cold and warm microsites. This extensive dataset provides some of the most exhaustive evidence yet that not all bats within a species choose (or likely require) microsites with the same microclimatic conditions. We argue that too often researchers and land managers have viewed microclimate selection through the lens of “optimal” conditions, and in doing so, often miss important variation that may actually be preferred by some bats. © 2017 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde

Zukal J.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Zukal J.,Masaryk University | Bandouchova H.,University of Veterinary And Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno | Bartonicka T.,Masaryk University | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Host traits and phylogeny can determine infection risk by driving pathogen transmission and its ability to infect new hosts. Predicting such risks is critical when designing disease mitigation strategies, and especially as regards wildlife, where intensive management is often advocated or prevented by economic and/or practical reasons. We investigated Pseudogymnoascus [Geomyces] destructans infection, the cause of white-nose syndrome (WNS), in relation to chiropteran ecology, behaviour and phylogenetics. While this fungus has caused devastating declines in North American bat populations, there have been no apparent population changes attributable to the disease in Europe. We screened 276 bats of 15 species from hibernacula in the Czech Republic over 2012 and 2013, and provided histopathological evidence for 11 European species positive for WNS. With the exception of Myotis myotis, the other ten species are all new reports for WNS in Europe. Of these, M. emarginatus, Eptesicus nilssonii, Rhinolophus hipposideros, Barbastella barbastellus and Plecotus auritus are new to the list of P. destructans-infected bat species. While the infected species are all statistically phylogenetically related, WNS affects bats from two suborders. These are ecologically diverse and adopt a wide range of hibernating strategies. Occurrence of WNS in distantly related bat species with diverse ecology suggests that the pathogen may be a generalist and that all bats hibernating within the distribution range of P. destructans may be at risk of infection.

Zurcher A.A.,Indiana State University | Sparks D.W.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Bennett V.J.,Purdue University
Acta Chiropterologica | Year: 2010

Roadways are nearly ubiquitous parts of the modern landscape, but their impact on bats remain relatively unknown. We studied the influence of vehicular traffic on the behaviour of commuting bats near the Indianapolis International Airport. A previous study at this site documented that Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) were much more likely to cross roads with low traffic volumes. One potential interpretation of this result is that bats perceive motor vehicles as a threat and exhibit avoidance behaviour whether or not the bats are in immediate danger. To test this hypothesis, we observed 211 cases of bats approaching roads that bisected their commuting routes. Information recorded at the time included the presence or absence of vehicles, the height the bat was flying, whether a bat reversed course prior to crossing the road and if so the distance from the road or vehicle (if present) when it altered its direction, and finally the speed, type and relative level of noise emitted by vehicles. Results revealed that bats were more than twice as likely to reverse course when vehicles were present as opposed to their absence. When automobiles were present 60% of bats exhibited avoidance behaviour, reversing course at an average of 10 m from a vehicle. Conversely, when no automobiles were present, only 32% of bats reversed their course and 68% crossed the road. The height a bat flew, speed of the vehicle, type of vehicle or level of noise emitted by vehicles had no effect on the likelihood of bats reversing course. These data support the hypothesis that bats perceive vehicles as a threat and display anti-predator avoidance behaviour in response to their presence. © Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS.

Duchamp J.E.,Purdue University | Duchamp J.E.,Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Sparks D.W.,Indiana State University | Sparks D.W.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Swihart R.K.,Purdue University
Journal of Mammalogy | Year: 2010

Temperate bat species are well-known predators of nocturnal insects; however, their role in forest nutrient cycling is unclear. We tested the "nutrient hot spot" hypothesis, which suggests that colonial bats should create nutrient peaks in and around their roosts via guano deposits. We measured the mass and nitrogen content of guano deposited outside of roosts occupied by maternal colonies of 2 tree-roosting species, Myotis septentrionalis and M. sodalis. We assessed whether these measures were related to date, species, and bat abundance using least-squares regression. We then compared the expected amount of nitrogen deposited over a maternity season to the expected annual amount of nitrogen mineralized by a forest. Mass of guano deposited increased with bat abundance and corresponded to periods of parturition and lactation. Nitrogen mineralization near a large roost of bats can be 380 of that due to decay of leaf litter. Such nutrient peaks could influence patterns of forest vegetation by impacting growth of herbaceous plants and development of tree seedlings, and the magnitude of these effects should increase in nutrient-poor areas. © 2010 American Society of Mammalogists.

Swecker C.D.,Marshall University | Swecker C.D.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Jones T.G.,Marshall University | Donahue II K.,Marshall University | And 2 more authors.
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2010

Introductions of nonnative crayfish species have resulted in the global decline of native crayfish populations, including those in North America. Historically, the North American range of Orconectes limosus (Spinycheek Crayfish) extended from Maine, southward into northern Virginia, including West Virginia's eastern panhandle. A 1988-1989 survey of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia resulted in the capture of only 14 O. limosus, but an abundance of the nonnative Orconectes virilis (Virile Crayfish). These data along with additional unpublished accounts of declines of O. limosus populations prompted our survey of eastern West Virginia. In 2005 and 2006, crayfishes were collected from streams within the West Virginia range of the O. limosus, including historic capture locations. Our collection of 600 individuals comprised crayfishes from 3 species: O. virilis, Orconectes obscurus (Allegheny Crayfish), and Cambarus bartonii bartonii (Common Crayfish). The nonnative O. virilis was present at 26 of the 30 sites, whereas O. limosus was absent from all collections. Our results may indicate extirpation of some or all populations of O. limosus in eastern West Virginia, but absence data may also reflect a low detection probability of individuals from small populations. Competition between the nonnative O. virilis and O. limosus have been reported elsewhere, and likely explains the extirpation of populations of O. limosus in West Virginia.

Timpone J.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Francl K.E.,Radford University | Sparks D.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Brack Jr. V.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Beverly J.,Apogee Environmental
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2011

Abstract The distribution and abundance of bats in western Virginia are poorly documented, especially in summer. Herein, we report results for captures of bats during 8 summers (between 2000 and 2009) of mist-netting surveys in the Cumberland Plateau and the Ridge and Valley provinces of Virginia. We captured 1575 bats representing 11 species and report multiple new county records for 10 of the 11 counties surveyed. Average capture rate was 1.9 bats per net-night, and Simpson's diversity index was 3.9 for the 8-year period. We also documented earliest and latest detection dates for reproducing females and presence of juveniles in 7 bat species. Our data contribute to an understanding of the relative abundance, distribution, and reproductive phenology of bats in these provinces, and may aid in the development of sound conservation strategies for these species in Virginia and surrounding states. Baseline data like these are increasingly important in light of White-Nose Syndrome's effects on bat populations in the region.

Bennett V.J.,Texas Christian University | Sparks D.W.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Zollner P.A.,Purdue University
Landscape Ecology | Year: 2013

Negative impacts of road networks on wildlife are of global concern. While direct mortality of wildlife via roads has been well-documented, we know little about indirect effects of roads. Using a simulation model parameterized from empirical data, we explored how roads in proximity to maternity roosts influenced foraging activities of the endangered Indiana bat. First, we conducted manipulated landscape simulations to identify characteristics (such as traffic volume, foraging habitat availability, etc.) that influenced landscape permeability. We used a classification and regression tree procedure to assess which landscape and road-related variables, alone or in combination, influenced bat movement. We determined that roads did act as filters (>10 vehicles/5 min) or barriers (>200 vehicles/5 min) to movement. However, it is a combination of the proportion of foraging habitat accessible without crossing a road, and roost-to-road distance that dictated whether the barrier and filter effects of roads hindered the bats' foraging abilities. We then simulated movement patterns and foraging success of Indiana bats at 32 existing maternity roosts to identify conditions under which colonies currently persist. We established a foraging success threshold, above which Indiana bats currently persist. The value represents the time virtual bats spend in foraging habitat during the simulation period. Finally, simulations from these landscapes around known maternity roosts demonstrate that the road network and landscape configuration are critical to foraging success. This modeling approach and threshold value are beneficial to road developers and represent an invaluable tool in the ecological design of transportation infrastructures. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Francl K.E.,Radford University | Sparks D.W.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Brack Jr. V.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Timpone J.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2011

White-nose syndrome (WNS) adversely affects millions of bats hibernating in caves of the eastern United States. Beginning in 2009, the US Fish and Wildlife Service supported use of a wing damage index (WDI) scoring system (scale of 0 to 3, or no damage to severe) to assess wing damage of bats captured during summer. Based on bat captures at 459 mist net sites in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey, USA, we questioned whether WDI scores varied by species group, date, and distance to the closest known affected hibernaculum. We also compared relative health (body mass index [BMI] scores) to WDI scores. Of 3,419 bats (nine species), only four individuals (0.1%; little brown [Myotis lucifugus] and northern bats [Myotis septentrionalis]) were scored as a 3 and 47 (1.4%; big brown [Eptesicus fuscus], little brown, and northern bats) as a 2. All tree bats (eastern red [Lasiurus borealis], hoary [Lasiurus cinereus], and silver-haired bats [Lasionycteris noctivagans]) scored a 0 or 1, suggesting that these species were not affected by WNS. The average WDI score decreased as summer progressed, although trends were weak. Average WDI score and number of bats with class 2 and 3 damage increased with proximity to a known WNS-positive hibernaculum. Similarly, the number of bats with severe wing damage (scoring 2 or 3) was greater at sites closer to infected hibernacula, but little variance was explained by the trend. When species-specific BMI was examined, trends were consistent by sex (female BMI scores were higher than those of males), but no relationship was discovered between BMI and WDI scores. We conclude that, at this larger geographic scale, WDI is not a clear indicator of bat health. © Wildlife Disease Association 2011.

Roberts J.H.,Georgia Southern University | Anderson G.B.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Anderson G.B.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Angermeier P.L.,U.S. Geological Survey
Water (Switzerland) | Year: 2016

Projects to assess environmental impact or restoration success in rivers focus on project-specific questions but can also provide valuable insights for future projects. Both restoration actions and impact assessments can become "adaptive" by using the knowledge gained from long-term monitoring and analysis to revise the actions, monitoring, conceptual model, or interpretation of findings so that subsequent actions or assessments are better informed. Assessments of impact or restoration success are especially challenging when the indicators of interest are imperiled species and/or the impacts being addressed are complex. From 1997 to 2015, we worked closely with two federal agencies to monitor habitat availability for and population density of Roanoke logperch (Percina rex), an endangered fish, in a 24-km-long segment of the upper Roanoke River, VA. We primarily used a Before-After-Control-Impact analytical framework to assess potential impacts of a river channelization project on the P. rex population. In this paper, we summarize how our extensive monitoring facilitated the evolution of our (a) conceptual understanding of the ecosystem and fish population dynamics; (b) choices of ecological indicators and analytical tools; and (c) conclusions regarding the magnitude, mechanisms, and significance of observed impacts. Our experience with this case study taught us important lessons about how to adaptively develop and conduct a monitoring program, which we believe are broadly applicable to assessments of environmental impact and restoration success in other rivers. In particular, we learned that (a) pre-treatment planning can enhance monitoring effectiveness, help avoid unforeseen pitfalls, and lead to more robust conclusions; (b) developing adaptable conceptual and analytical models early was crucial to organizing our knowledge, guiding our study design, and analyzing our data; (c) catchment-wide processes that we did not monitor, or initially consider, had profound implications for interpreting our findings; and (d) using multiple analytical frameworks, with varying assumptions, led to clearer interpretation of findings than the use of a single framework alone. Broader integration of these guiding principles into monitoring studies, though potentially challenging, could lead to more scientifically defensible assessments of project effects. © 2016 by the authors.

Francl K.E.,Radford University | Ford W.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Sparks D.W.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Brack Jr. V.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc.
Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management | Year: 2012

Although it has been widely documented that populations of cave-roosting bats rapidly decline following the arrival of white-nose syndrome (WNS), longer term reproductive effects are less well-known and essentially unexplored at the community scale. In West Virginia, WNS was first detected in the eastern portion of the state in 2009 and winter mortality was documented in 2009 and 2010. However, quantitative impacts on summer bat communities remained unknown. We compared "historical" (pre-WNS) capture records and reproductive rates from 11,734 bats captured during summer (15 May to 15 August) of 1997-2008 and 1,304 captures during 2010. We predicted that capture rates (number of individuals captured/net-night) would decrease in 2010. We also expected the energetic strain of WNS would cause delayed or reduced reproduction, as denoted by a greater proportion of pregnant or lactating females later in the summer and a lower relative proportion of juvenile captures in the mid-late summer. We found a dramatic decline in capture rates of little brown Myotis lucifugus, northern long-eared M. septentrionalis, small-footed M. leibii, Indiana M. sodalis, tri-colored Perimyotis subflavus, and hoary Lasiurus cinereus bats after detection of WNS in 2009. For these six species, 2010 capture rates were 10-37% of pre-WNS rates. Conversely, capture rates of big brown bats Eptesicus fuscus increased by 17% in 2010, whereas capture rates of eastern red bats Lasiurus borealis did not change. Together, big brown and eastern red bats were 58% of all 2010 captures but only 11% of pre-WNS captures. Reproductive data from 12,314 bats showed shifts in pregnancy and lactation dates, and an overall narrowing in the windows of time of each reproductive event, for northern-long-eared and little brown bats. Additionally, the proportion of juvenile captures declined in 2010 for these species. In contrast, lactation and pregnancy rates of big brown and eastern red bats, and the proportion of juveniles, were similar to historical patterns. Our results further elucidate the significance of short-term effects and provide a basis to examine long-term consequences of WNS.

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