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Bat population in danger due to collisions with wind turbines  

Credit:  Written by Jeanne Rife on 18 Mar 2016 | NH Voice | nhv.us ~~

A study published online in the science journal Ecological Applications focuses on loss to bat population after colliding with wind turbines. The study is the first to make DNA analysis of bats killed by wind turbines. The study would suggest authorities to execute environment friendly wind-power projects.

According to the US Geological Survey, hundreds of thousands of bats die each year in collisions with wind turbines. The researchers from Maryland studied two bat species found dead in roughly equal numbers beneath turbines in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The species were eastern red bats and the hoary bats. The eastern red bats had larger breeding population compared to the hoary bats.

The study suggests that red bats are better at observing wind-turbine deaths than hoary bats. Both of the species are not endangered. So there is need to pay heed to the falling population of hoary bats due to unnatural deaths.

“We knew which species were being killed, but we didn’t know how they were moving across the landscape, how many were out there, or what their genetic diversity was. Our research is helping conservation managers to understand, ‘Are these species that we need to be concerned about’,” said study co-author David Nelson, an associate professor from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory.

According to John Anderson, senior director of permitting policy and environmental affairs for the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group, the wind industry, in partnership with federal agencies and Bat Conservation International, is investigating techniques such as acoustic deterrents and operational adjustments that could help reduce bat deaths.

In a report published by the PHYS, “Wind energy is a growing alternative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels. However, one impact of large-scale wind energy development has been widespread mortality of bats. A new study from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science tracks down the origin of bats killed by wind turbines in the Appalachian region in hopes of better understanding the risks to affected populations.”

“We knew which species were being killed, but we didn’t know how they were moving across the landscape, how many were out there, or what their genetic diversity was,” said the study’s co-author and Associate Professor David Nelson of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory. “Our research is helping conservation managers to understand, ‘Are these species that we need to be concerned about?'”

According to a report in WashingtonTimes by DAVID DISHNEAU, “The study, published online by the science journal Ecological Applications, is the first to use genetic and chemical analysis to assess the impact of wind farms on bats in the Appalachian region, said David Nelson, an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg.”

The Maryland researchers looked at two bat species found dead in roughly equal numbers beneath turbines in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. DNA analysis showed that the eastern red bats were from a group with a much larger breeding population – numbering in at least the hundreds of thousands – than the hoary bats.

“DNA was also extracted from the bats’ wing tissue and examined to assess how the animals would fare when adapting to increased mortality among their population. Analyzing the bats’ genes also gave researchers a better idea of how many individuals of a species remain in the breeding population, which in turn can be used to determine whether or not the population is viable,” according to a news report published by HNGN.

“Understanding the potential impacts of turbine-associated bat deaths is often complicated by a lack of data,”Cortney Pylant, lead author of the study, added. “Studies such as this can help to identify species and populations at particular risk.”

Source:  Written by Jeanne Rife on 18 Mar 2016 | NH Voice | nhv.us

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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