"Our model suggests that once average summer (May through August) maximum temperatures reach 27.4C (81.3F), the climatic suitability of the area for Indiana bat maternity colonies declines," says Loeb. "Once they reach 29.9C (85.8F), the area is forecast to become completely unsuitable. Initially, Indiana bat maternity colonies may respond to warming temperatures by choosing roosts that have more shade than the roosts that they currently use. Eventually, it is likely that they will have to find more suitable climates."
The models the researchers produced provide resource managers guidance on areas that are likely to contain maternity colonies now and in the future, depending on the availability of suitable habitat in those areas. "Managers in the western parts of the range should be aware of the potential changes in summer distributions due to climate change and not assume that declines are due to habitat loss or degradation," says Loeb. "Management actions that foster high reproductive success and survival will be critical for the conservation and recovery of the species."
|Contact: Susan Loeb|
USDA Forest Service ‑ Southern Research Station