Georgia is participating in a volunteer-based, nationwide acoustic survey effort to collect long-term data about bats.
The state is home to 16 species of bats. All of them eat insects exclusively and use echolocation to navigate, communicate and find food. Echolocation calls can be recorded and used to identify bats.
The national acoustic survey protocol provides guidelines for states to follow when starting monitoring programs. Here is a basic outline of the methods for Georgia:
Transects are approximately 30 miles long along a path that minimizes sampling the same stretches of road (one-way straight-line movement).
Transects should pass through a variety of habitat types common in the area.
Sampling should occur twice each year, once in June and once in July.
Sampling should only occur on nights suitable for bat activity (low wind, no rain or fog, appropriate temperatures -- above 60 degrees.
Sampling should begin 30 minutes after sunset.
Transects should be run at 20 mph.
Detailed instructions for using the Anabat can be found here. An instructional video is available below.
Georgia’s acoustic survey routes are shown on the map. Routes in green are available for surveys. Click on a route in your area to get information about road conditions, driving directions and a map.
Who should volunteer? Here are some things to consider before signing up:
You must have a vehicle you are able to use for one scouting route (during the first year only) and two sampling routes each year.
Some routes require a 4-wheel-drive vehicle.
Routes must be completed twice each year, once in June and once in July (preferably approximately one month apart).
Routes cannot be run during rainy, foggy or windy conditions. You must be able to have flexibility in your schedule.
There are a limited number of Anabat units available for use across the state. Volunteers must be willing to coordinate picking up and dropping off Anabat units with other volunteers. This also may require some driving.
This is a long-term monitoring project. Volunteers should be available to run the same routes for at least the next several years (if possible).
How do you volunteer? Choose an available route you’re interested in from the map below. Then contact DNR wildlife biologist Trina Morris for information about getting started.