Seminar Series Continues with Talk on Wind Turbines and Bat Mortality

Article by: Louise Jett,
ALTON – The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠) is continuing its weekly seminar series with a presentation on wind turbines and bat mortality, given by NGRREC℠  Field Technician Rachael Van Essen at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19.
As with each seminar in the series, the presentation, which will be held at the Jerry F. Costello Confluence Field Station in East Alton, is free and open to the general public.
Individual bat mortality due to wind turbines is a growing conservation concern, but its impact on bat populations is difficult to estimate. Wind facilities in Midwest agricultural fields can kill an estimated 4.45-7.14 bats per turbine, per year.
“We used ecological niche modeling and isotope analysis to the estimate geographic origins (extents) of bats killed at the wind facility,” Van Essen said. “Basically, we wanted to know whether the bats that were killed came from a large or narrow portion of their summer range.”
The research showed that one wind facility can affect bat populations from across their summer range. If other facilities show this pattern, they could have a cumulative and far reaching effect.
The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center is a partnership of Lewis and Clark Community College, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Prairie Research Institute’s Illinois Natural History Survey. NGRREC℠ aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education and outreach related to the interconnectedness of big rivers, their floodplains and watersheds, and the people who use them.

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