COMBINED FIELD SURVEY TECHNIQUES WORKSHOP

Portal, Arizona • May 13-20, 2017

Bats are vital components of healthy ecosystems world wide, yet they are some of the most misunderstood and difficult-to-study animals on our planet. Our western workshop in the heart of the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona is at an ecological crossroads of unparalleled species diversity, where bats are no exception. Twenty-one different species of bats have been documented within 5-miles of our headquarters.

 

 

This workshop provides students with hands-on opportunity to investigate, handle, identify, net, trap and acoustically record an impressive diversity of bats and is ideal for wildlife biologists, environmental consultants, teachers, students, and naturalists from all backgrounds.

Participants will also gain valuable understanding of the theory and practice of recording and analyzing bat echolocation calls, with special emphasis on the possible pitfalls and proven solutions for successful species identification. The SonoBat software package, developed by Joe Szewczak (Arcata CA), is a premiere bat echolocation signal analysis package available to display, analyze, and discriminate between bat calls. During this course Joe himself, assisted by BSS staff, will train students in the use of SonoBat for a variety of acoustic monitoring techniques relevant to bat inventories across western habitats. These activities will provide unparalleled opportunity to collect voucher call recordings from more species of bats than any other single location in the United States.

Our firm belief is that every capture technique and software package is biased, and researchers who rely on one tool too heavily are only offered one opinion on the species composition in their data. To this end we will be demonstrating workflow using Wildlife Acoustic's flagship bat call analysis package, Kaleidoscope Pro, with several opportunities to post process and manually vet data side-by-side with SonoBat on dual screens satisfying either workflow participants may already be invested in. The two additional zero-cross only analysis apps, BCID and EchoClass will be introduced and further demonstrated as there is participant interest. Bat Survey Solutions offeres the only workshop available that guides participants using all four North American bat call analysis workflows, compares their results, and shows how to confirm or reject the automated classifications.

Program Details
Our workshop location at the American Museum of Natural History's renowned Southwestern Research Station puts us in the heart of one of the most spectacular western wilderness habitats, yet allows us to stay and work in unexpected comfort. The Station provides three hearty prepared meals daily, climate controlled lecture rooms, and fully appointed overnight accommodations. With its location at an elevation of 5,000 feet, the Station is nestled in a lush, riparian canyon shaded by oaks, sycamores, cypress, and cottonwoods, tucked away like a pearl in an otherwise rugged and arid landscape. Our fieldwork during this course will take us from the desert floor to high-elevation pine forest, all without having to travel more than 12 miles from the Station. 

The workshop takes advantage of the remarkably accessible habitat diversity and combines indoor classroom lectures and discussions with outdoor field outings, many within walking distance of our classroom. Participants receive an introduction to the use of Kaleidoscope Pro and SonoBat software for conducting acoustic monitoring and inventories as well as a comprehensive understanding of echolocation call characteristics used for species identification in this rich habitat. Guided classroom demonstrations and hands-on experience with equipment in the field will acquaint participants with the full range of methods, techniques, and technologies available for surveying bats in almost any western habitat. See below for a complete list of lecture and discussion topics, demonstrations, and evening field activities. Daily goals and objectives for the course are described more fully at the bottom of this page.

The Combined Field Survey Techniques Workshop is open to biologists and naturalists from federal, state, or local agencies, college and/or graduate students, and other professionals or enthusiasts with a desire to learn more about full-spectrum echolocation recording and bat call analysis using KaPRO and SonoBat software (fully functional trial copies will be available). No prior experience is necessary, however becoming familier with the software and Excel prior to class is strongly suggested. Participants will need proof of rabies pre-exposure vaccination to handle bats during this course. This is a three-shot series and students should plan to finish the series at least one month prior to attendance. Proof of sufficient rabies antibody tire (dated no more than 2 years prior to the start of the course) will also be accepted. Participants who prefer not to handle bats and who would like to focus on non-contact survey methods do not need to obtain rabies vaccinations.

Optional BCID/EchoClass Data Analysis Module
Even though the acoustic survey portions of this field workshop emphasize regional bat classifications using KaPRO and SonoBat software, during the afternoon of Day 8 we will offer an optional extension to the workshop to demonstrate workflows for processing zero-cross files in BCID and EchoClass. Instructors will guide participants on how to interpret the BCID and EchoClass automated outputs and use AnaLook and Kaleidoscope Pro to manually vet file-level classifications to confirm or reject MLE’s for species presence. Lunch on this day and an additional evening field trip or data management geek session is included. Participants must register separately for this optional Module.

Curriculum Highlights
Lectures and demonstrations cover a full range of bat natural history, identification, capture, and handling skills. Survey techniques covered during the course include, physical capture methods, acoustic monitoring, marking and banding, radio tracking, and data recording, analysis and reporting. Bat echolocation and acoustic monitoring subjects, with a focus on the use of KaPRO and SonoBat software for designing inventory and monitoring programs for western bat species. A summary of topics includes:

  • Introduction to regional bat natural history, distribution, and morphological identification
  • Physical capture techniques using harp traps, mist nets, and other situation-specific methods
  • Viewing and recording bats using video, night-vision/infra-red cameras, and thermal imaging
  • Assessing habitat for bats and micro-siting for effective surveys
  • Tips on bat detector use and deployment for acoustic inventories
  • Introduction to bat bioacoustics, echolocation, and bat detectors
  • Hands-on demonstration with a wide range of bat detector models
  • Bat detector use in the field for active and passive monitoring
  • Bat monitoring program designs and choosing the right bat detector for the job
  • Introduction to KaPRO and SonoBat for recording and signal analysis
  • Call characteristics for bat identification on the basis of echolocation calls
  • Auto-classification using KaPRO & SonoBat, data handling, file storage, and interpretation
  • Marking and banding for long-term studies
  • Radio-tracking techniques for collecting foraging and roosting data on bat species of interest
  • New and emerging technologies to advance the science of bat research

 

Evening fieldwork practicums:
Instructors will provide guided, hands-on demonstrations during evening and nighttime field practicums. Participants will work in small groups for added opportunity for individual instruction. Participants can choose to focus on any aspect(s) of the course during the field practicums and tailor their participation to their specific interests and/or needs.

  • Deploying single-, double-, and triple-high mist nets
  • Assembling and siting harp traps
  • Combining harp traps and mist nets in geometric combinations to increase capture success
  • Key morphological characteristics to help identify bats ³on the wing²
  • Adding acoustic inventories efforts to assess survey protocols and refine occupancy estimates
  • Conducting active, passive, and mobile bat-detector deployments
  • Deployment tips to improve recording quality and confident classifications
  • Passive setups using bat detectors and digital audio recorders (e.g., Pettersson D240x and Samson Zoom) and using direct recording detectors (e.g., Binary Acoustics Technology iFR-IV, Pettersson D500x, Wildlife Acoustics SM2BAT+, SM3, and SM4)
  • Active monitoring using bat detectors, tips for following bats, and hands-on opportunities to collect voucher recordings using SonoBatLIVE
  • Implementing mobile acoustic transects
  • Addressing power, security, and weatherproofing for long-term, passive deployments
  • Simulated radio-tracking efforts to identify bat roosting resources
  • Comparing effects of effort, habitat diversity, capture methods, and survey conditions on inventory results

Venue Details

Bat Combined Field Survey Techniques Workshop

Cost: $2,525.00 per participant w/early registration discount ($2,825 after April 1, 2017)

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8 days/7 nights+18 meals in Portal, AZ

 

Echoclass/BCID Data Module
Registration: $349.00 per participant
Includes day 8 lunch & optional geek session

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Location and Directions:
The American Museum of Natural History's Southwestern Research Station is located about 5-miles from the tiny town of Portal in southeastern Arizona, near the New Mexico border. There is no cellphone service at the Station or within the canyon at the vast majority of our field sites.

Dates: May 13 (Saturday)-20 (Saturday), 2017. Check in on the porch of the Nature Shop at 11:30; progam begins at 1 PM. on Day 1 and will conclude by noon on Day 8. NOTE: Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time and remains on Mountain Standard Time (MST) year round, please plan your travel accordingly to arrive in the area on time.

Lodging: Due to the remoteness of our location and paucity of nearby alternate lodging, overnight lodging is included with this workshop for the nights of Day 1-7. Lodging is dormitory style, with up to 3 people per room. A pro-rated registration fee for participants wishing to attempt to find off-site lodging is not available. Those wishing to arrive early or stay late should make their own lodging arrangements with SWRS or with one of several small hotels in Portal (reservations strongly suggested). While there is no cell service at SWRS, there is station-wide WiFi. that guests may use internet phone services (Skype, etc.)

Airport: The nearest major city is Tucson (airport code TUS), which is about 3 hours by vehicle. Participants might also find better flights and connections by flying into Phoenix (PHX) another 1-1/2 hours north of Tucson.

General Equipment: Participants need to bring appropriate field gear, including hiking boots, a headlamp with batteries, a personal pack, sunscreen, bat handling glove, a supply of latex gloves for compliance with WNS protocols, and a water bottle. Participants will need proof rabies pre-exposure vaccination to handle bat during this course and should plan to obtain the three-shot series at least one month prior to attendance if needed. Proof of sufficient rabies antibody tire (dated no more than 2 years prior to the start of the course) will also be accepted. Field locations can be surprisingly cool at night, please bring a jacket and dress appropriately for evening activities. Bring clothing and footwear that can get wet (generally capture sites feature ankle deep "clean" mountain streams). We will be visiting natural cave entrances, but not physically entering them, therefore full WNS decontamination is not required. A comprehensive list suggesting a full range of items to bring to the course will be sent to all registered participants prior to the class.

Software Requirements: Functional trials of SonoBat and BCID will be available for students to install on a personal laptop prior to the course. Directions will also be provided on how to obtain the free version of Kaleidoscope and EchoClass. Please note that while frequency-division technology (a.k.a. zero-cross recordings in AnaBat format) will be demonstrated during this workshop, a comprehensive look at AnaLook and related workflow is beyond the scope of this workshop and will not be presented in detail. Microsoft Excel is required to view and compile the outputs from all the classifier programs.

If you plan to use a government/institution/corporate owned computer BE SURE you have access privileges to install software during this class. Please bring a laptop loaded with the SonoBat demo, Kaleidoscope, BCID, EchoClass (both EC and BCID will run on a Mac under Parallels), and Microsoft Excel.

It is very important for all students to pre-install all the suggested software and become familiar with basic features and operations to maximize time spent learning the various work-flows and utilities. Allow 1-3 hours to install software especially if you are new to acoustic monitoring. Participants are required to bring their own laptops with the suggested acoustic software & Microsoft Office suite, especially Excel, pre-loaded.

We will be analyzing new data as well as sample data from other previous workshops or projects. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own full spectrum data to analyze as well!

Acoustic Equipment: Students should bring personal bat recording gear, laptops and connecting cables. We will have a number of full-spectrum bat detectors available including a number of Pettersson D500x and Wildlife Acoustics SM4 detectors for participants to borrow. We will also have several Wildlife Acoustics SM3, SM2BAT+. Echometer Touch, and EM3 units available. There will be smaller numbers of Pettersson D1000x, D240x, M500, Binary Acoustic Technology miniMic+Spect'r, AR125FG, AR125 and iFR-IV models, and an Elekon Batlogger to demo. A generous, fully functional trial version of KaPRO & SonoBat will be available to install on student laptops prior to the workshop. It is important to take advantage of this opportunity PRIOR to arrival to participate fully in the guided software demonstrations and post-processing of field recordings. Software download and install instructions (for MAC OSX or Microsoft Windows) will be provided to all registered participants two-weeks prior to the start of the course.

Any participants who have already invested in a detector brand or model should bring it to the class. Being familiar with the basic operation of the detector and how to connect it to a laptop and/or off-load recordings to a laptop prior to the workshop is helpful. Please bring any appropriate digital media storage devices (2GB or larger is suggested) to collect recordings and/or share data. One field trip will include a mobile (driving or walking) transect; students may use their own equipment during this exercise, and should be sure to consider power and portability issues. AnaBat users interested in the full spectrum detectors and SonoBat workflow are welcome. However, remember that SonoBat is not compatible with AnaBat recordings. AnaBat software and workflow necessitates its own dedicated workshop to cover comprehensively and therefore will not be formally covered at this workshop due to time constraints. Even participants with their own equipment may borrow workshop equipment to test side-by-side during the course.

Meals: All meals from Dinner on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 7 are included with the registration fee, with the exception of one lunch and dinner on Day 5. Please indicate with your registration if you require vegetarian meals or if you have any life-threatening food allergies. Other special diets (e.g., gluten free, low fat, Paleo, etc.) are not possible.

How to Register: Please order online. To register multiple people, please checkout each person individually so that we can obtain the proper contact information for each participant. Please also mention any special topics you are definitely interested in the text box provided on the checkout screen.

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The Fine Print . . .

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Confirmation Details

Courses fill quickly and attendance at each course is strictly limited due to staffing and facilities logistics. Registration and payment is required to reserve a seat in class. An automated receipt for course fees is sent immediately upon registration. At least 45-days prior to the start of class, Janet Tyburec will contact class members to confirm registration details and will provide additional pre-course materials including a detailed daily agenda and information on what to bring to and how to prepare to enhance participation.

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Deadlines and Cancellation Policy

The registration deadline for any course is 45-days prior to the start of class (listed as “Day 1” on the course agenda). Reservations cannot be held without payment. After the deadline, space in class is available on a first-come, first-served basis only if the attendance cap has not been met. Daily rates for courses are not available. Refunds will be issued upon request, less a $250 processing fee, if a participant must cancel prior to the registration deadline. After the deadline, fees are not refundable but registration is transferable to another participant for the purchased class only. Consider purchasing trip insurance if this cancellation policy is not acceptable.

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What's Included . . .

Meals not specifically indicated as included, transportation to and from the workshop location, and any pre- or post-lodging fees to facilitate travel are not included. Please, no audio or video recording during class. Presentations, agendas, and in-field activities are subject to change without notice according to group dynamics and local conditions. If the purpose of attending one of our courses is to help you maintain or improve skills related to employment or business, expenses related to the programs may be tax-deductible according to I.R.C. Reg. 1.162-5. Please consult your tax advisor. Completion of any training class does not constitute an endorsement of skills that may be required by a permitting agency.

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