The Mississippi Bat Working Group held its sixth annual meeting at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, MS on February 7, 2008. Twenty-nine people representing two states, 6 state and federal agencies, 2 private companies, and 3 educational institutions participated in the meeting, which featured the addition of a poster session this year.
9:00 – 9:30 am Registration/Breakfast
9:30 – 9:35 am Welcome – Charles Knight, Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (MMNS)
9:35 – 9:40 am Introductions – Meeting coordinators and participants
9:40 – 9:45 am Meeting objectives – Chester Martin, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Retired, and Chair, MBWG, and Alison McCartney, Bureau of Land Management and vice-Chair, MBWG
9:45 – 9:55 am MBWG Activities for 2007 – Chester Martin
9:55 – 10:15 am MBWG Summer Mist Net Event 2007 – Alison McCartney
10:15 – 10:25 am Election of Officers
10:25 – 10:35 am Discussion of Future MBWG Annual Meetings – Meeting Coordinators and Participants
10:35 – 10:45 am MBWG Web Site – Alison McCartney
10:45 – 11:00 am Break
11:00 – 11:10 am Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat Maternal Roost in an Abandoned House in Pheba, MS – David Richardson, USFWS
11:10 – 11:20 am Brazilian Free-tailed Bat Roost in a Church in Macon, MS – David Richardson
11:20 – 11:30 am Restoration, Management, and Monitoring of Forest Resources in the MS Alluvial Valley – Randy Wilson, USFWS
11:30 – 11:45 am Additional Project Ideas/Discussion – Meeting Coordinators and Participants
11:45 – 1:00 pm Lunch – Sponsored by Bowhead Information Technology service, Weyerhaeuser, and Tara Wildlife
1:00 – 1:15 pm Artificial Bat Houses at DeSoto National Forest – Austin Trousdale, University of Southern Mississippi
1:15 – 1:30 pm Bat Surveys Conducted at Theodore Roosevelt NWR Complex – Alison McCartney
1:30 – 1:45 pm Ambient Temperature Effect on Roost Site Selection by Corynorhinus rafinesquii (Rafinesque’s big-eared bat) in a Bottomland Hardwood Forest Streambed – Chris L. Rice and Kim Marie Tolson, University of Louisiana at Monroe
1:45 – 2:00 pm Bat Surveys on Military Installations in Mississippi – Chester Martin
2:00 – 2:45 pm Poster Session
2:45 – 3:30 pm Meeting Summary and Discussion of Priority Issues
3:30 pm Adjourn
The Sixth Annual Meeting of the MBWG began with a welcome by Charles Knight, Assistant Director of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (MMNS). Chester Martin, MBWG Chair and recently retired from the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, presided over the meeting and introduced the other officers of the MBWG. Other participants were invited to introduce themselves and include their affiliations. Attendance totaled 29 people from 2 state (Mississippi and Louisiana). Public agencies represented included the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Forest Service and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); US Department of the Interior – Bureau of Land Managment (BLM) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Private companies Bowhead Technology & Information Systems and Weyerhaeuser both sent participants. Institutions of higher learning represented were the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), and Mississippi State University.
- Chester reviewed the many contributions made to bat conservation and research (including peer-reviewed and technical journal publications) made by the MBWG membership in 2007.
- Alison McCartney (BLM), MBWG Vice-Chair, summarized the 2007 Summer Mist Net Event held at Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Delta National Forest. Alison also discussed the upcoming Mist Net Event to be held in July 2008 on the Homochitto National Forest near Natchez. The MBWG is seeking sponsors and a coordinator for the event.
- MBWG discussed the suggestion that to raise the working group’s profile, they hold their memberhsip meeting to coincide with the annual meeting of the state chapter of The Wildlife Society, possibly as soon as October 2008. The MBWG will hold further discussions to evaluate the merits of the recommendation.
- The group discussed ideas for improvements of the website
- David Richardson (USFWS) discussed plans to secure a maternity roost of Rafinesque’s big-eared bats in an abandoned house in Pheba, MS. He will personally purchase the materials and coordinate the labor to stabilize the deteriorating structure. David also updated the group on his efforts to safety exclude a colony of Brazilian free-tailed bats from a church in Macon.
- Austin Trousdale (USM) received the Chester O. Martin Award for his service to the MBWG and contributions to the study of bats in Mississippi.
Out meeting sponsors (BLM, Bowhead, Tara Wildlife, and Weyerhaeuser) provided a delicious lunch during which Chester was honored with an often-humorous retrospective of his life and career. Thanks to Mandy Callender (ERDC) and Alison for putting this together.
After lunch the meeting resumes for a review of recent research and conservation actions regarding bats in MS. This consisted of oral presentations and a poster session.
- Austin Trousdale updated the group on efforts to deploy artificial roosts on the DeSoto National Forest following Hurricane Katrina.
- Alison summarized bat surveys that she had conducted at the Theodore Roosevelt NWR Complex.
- Chris Rice (UL-Monroe) discussed his research on effects of ambient temperature on roost selection by C. rafinesquii.
- Posters by Austin, Alison, Chris, Monica, and Bruce Sabol (ERDC) were also displayed
In the open discussion that concluded the meeting, Shauna Ginger (USFWS) informed the group that she is leading the effort by her agency to review the potential need for federally listing C. rafinesquii and the southeastern myotis, Myotis austroriparius. Across their ranges, these two species are designated by individual states as worthy of special conservation concern (or in some cases, more serious need). Shauna requested that investigators and wildlife managers share with her evidence of any trends in the populations that they have studied and/or managed. When compiled, these data should allow the agency to gain a clearer picture of whether these species continue to decline in abundance.