Genetic Impact of Wind Farms on Bat Populations


Bats populations are under threat from factors such as disease (white nose syndrome) and mortality at wind farms. Turbines at wind farms kill both migratory and resident species during nocturnal flights. Bat species killed at wind farms tend to be forest-dwelling, and little is known about the consequences of this mortality on the genetic diversity of the affected species.

We aim to quantify the recent population declines in bats by comparing genetic data from museum specimens (historical samples) to those killed by turbines (contemporary samples) to test for any loss of genetic diversity in several native bat species through time. This REU project will involve generating genetic information from museum and turbine-killed bats and then comparing the levels of genetic diversity between these sets of samples across multiple sites.