February 2014 was the last winter sampling for our three-year study of microbial communities on bats and in caves; however, beginning in February 2015, monitoring continues with a focus on capturing additional information about the status and spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) in Illinois hibernacula.
To increase coverage of the state, we are deploying Anabat Express recorders outside of select cave entrances to check for possible winter activity just outside of the entrances. This activity would be captured in the form of ultrasonic bat calls recorded using the Anabat Express. Flights of bats outside of cave entrances implies a high likelihood that the site contains WNS.
We also are increasing our coverage of counties in Illinois, entering caves and other hibernacula in hopes of obtaining a more complete picture of the distribution of WNS in the state, and the status of overwintering bat populations.