Second Annual Long Island Natural History Conference



The Bats of Long Island
Michael S. Fishman

ABSTRACT:  Long Island, New York is a glacial moraine and outwash plain that is a geologically and ecologically unique region of New York, and contains habitats and conditions not widely studied in bat ecology.  Discovery of a northern bat (Myotis septentrionalis) showing signs of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) on Long Island in 2011 spurred interest in learning more about the current species distribution of bats on Long Island in order to document anticipated changes due to WNS, and to see if relative frequency changes had occurred since the first major survey of bats occurred on Long Island 100 years ago.  We conducted mist net and acoustic surveys at 28 nets sets divided between Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, Suffolk County, NY (n=12 sites) and Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Brookhaven, Suffolk County, NY (n=16 sites).  We captured 125 bats of 3 species: Eptesicus fuscus (Big Brown Bat), Lasiurus borealis (Eastern Red Bat) and Myotis septentrionalis (Northern Bat).  We acoustically detected these species, as well as Myotis lucifugus (Little Brown Bat), Myotis leibii  (Eastern Small-Footed Bat), Lasiurus cinereus (Hoary Bat), and Lasionycteris noctivagans (Silver Haired Bat).  Relative frequency distribution of captures was similar to those observed on other sites 1 year after detection of WNS, suggesting that WNS may have been delayed in reaching Long Island.  Habitat use comparisons were also made between a burned and unburned section of pine barrens habitats at BNL.  Lasiurus borealis preferred unburned pine barrens, while Myotis septentrionalis preferred burned patches.  Eptesicus fuscus did not exhibit a selection of either habitat condition.

Michael Fishman is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Professional Wetland Scientist currently serving as the Senior Managing Environmental Scientist at Barton & Loguidice, P.C., a New York-based Environmental Consulting and Engineering Company.  He is also co-founder of Smarter By Nature, LLC, an environmental education and scientific consultancy.  He is currently President of the New York Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Past President of the Northeast Bat Working Group, and former Vice Chair of the New York State Wetlands Forum. Michael works with a wide variety of endangered species, and has conducted biodiversity surveys in 25 states.  He started working with bats in 1991, and is a Qualified Indiana Bat Surveyor in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  His graduate studies explored habitat selection of the federally-endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), and as a native Long Islander, he has long been curious about the bat community on Long Island.  Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a Master of Science Degree in Conservation Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.