Title: Using an internet questionnaire to characterize bat survey efforts in the United States and Canada
Author: Weller, Theodore J.; Zielinski, William J.
Source: Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(4): 1000-1008
Description: Standardized survey methods are important for obtaining reliable information on wildlife populations. As a precursor to creating a regional bat-survey (Chiroptera) protocol, we distributed a questionnaire via e-mail to biologists responsible for conducting bat surveys in the United States and Canada. We received 415 responses from 45 states and 7 Canadian provinces or territories. Most of the responses were from western North America. Based on these responses, we characterized the biologists responsible for bat surveys, their objectives and methods, and the habitat types and spatial scales surveyed. Most respondents were government employees, had <5 years of experience working with bats, and had <20% of their professional responsibilities dedicated to bats. Surveys were most likely to occur in forests and at sites ≤1 km2 in area. The 3 most important objectives identified by respondents for conducting bat surveys, in rank order, were to 1) create a list of species in an area, 2) monitor presence or abundance of a species at a structure, and 3) determine presence of a single species in an area. Experienced (>10 yr) surveyors tended to employ a wider variety of methods than those with less experience. We discuss how the results of this questionnaire will be used to draft a regional bat-survey protocol to better address the needs of its target audience. Using the Internet to survey the target audience proved to be a very useful step in the development of a standard bat-survey protocol. We believe similar methods should be considered for other taxa as a precursor to creation of standard survey methods.
Keywords: agency biologist, bat detectors, Chiroptera, experience-level, Internet, survey methods, survey protocol
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Weller, Theodore J.; Zielinski, William J. 2006. Using an internet questionnaire to characterize bat survey efforts in the United States and Canada. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(4): 1000-1008.