Friday, April 24, 2015

Episode 263 (4-27-15): Bats and Water

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:20)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 4-24-15.
 

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of April 27, 2015.

This week, we feature sounds that are especially mysterious, because special equipment and processing were needed for humans to hear them at all!  Have a listen for about 15 seconds and see if you can guess what kind of animal made the sounds.  And here’s a hint: If you’re a night-flying insect, high-frequency waves might cause the last echo of you.

SOUNDS

If you guessed bats, you’re right!  Special techniques can make audible to humans the ultrasonic waves that bats emit and receive to navigate and detect food—a process called echolocation but sometimes referred to as sonar.  Alex Silvis, a researcher with the Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, recorded and processed the sounds you heard, from the Hoary Bat, Red Bat, and Northern Long-eared Bat.  Those are three of the 17 bat species known to occur in Virginia, out of over 1000 species worldwide.

While some bat species eat fruits, nectar, other vertebrate animals, or blood in the case of vampire bats, all Virginia species feed on night-flying insects, a special ecological role made possible by bat echolocation and flying abilities.  And many bats seeking insects find them near water.  Many aquatic insects—such as mayflies, blackflies, and stoneflies—develop from underwater juveniles to winged adults, and bats forage near water to prey on the emerging adults.

Water is also an important aspect of the caves that many bats use for resting, reproduction, or winter hibernation.  Many caves are formed by groundwater, and caves offer high humidity to reduce bat dehydration during hibernation.  Unfortunately, cave humidity’s also good for White-nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that’s killed millions of bats in eastern North America since 2006.  Besides that disease, other threats to certain bat species in Virginia or elsewhere include habitat loss or contamination, disturbance during hibernation, human hunting for food, and humans’ perceptions—sometimes exaggerated, or even mythical—of bats as disease-carriers, crop destroyers, or vampires.

NOT exaggerated or mythical, though, are bats’ importance to humans as insect eaters and as plant pollinators, and water’s importance to bats.  As the Cooperative Research Unit’s leader Mark Ford put it, “Any given bat on any given night probably foraged over or near water.”  So we close with some bat and water-insect music: a short excerpt of “Little Brown Bats Eating Mosquitoes,” by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg.  Thanks to Mr. Seaman for permission to use this music, and thanks to Alex Silvis for the bat sounds.

MUSIC ~ 10 SEC

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water. 

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The recordings of bat echolocation sounds were provided in March 2015 by Alexander Silvis, a postdoctoral research associate with the Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation.  Thanks to Mr. Silvis for permission to use the recordings, and thanks to him and to Dr. Mark Ford, leader of the Cooperative Research Unit at Virginia Tech, their help with this episode.  More information about the Cooperative Research Unit is available online at http://www.coopunits.org/Virginia/index.html.

“Little Brown Bats Eating Mosquitoes,” from the 2004 CD “Virginia Wildlife,” is copyright by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission; this music was previously used as the feature of Virginia Water Radio Episode 78, 9-5-11.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is http://www.timothyseaman.com/.  The “Virginia Wildlife” CD was a collaboration between Mr. Seaman and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to celebrate Virginia’s natural resources and support non-game wildlife programs.  “Little Brown Bats Eating Mosquitoes” was composed in honor of Virginia’s Non-Game Wildlife Tax Check-off; information about Virginia’s program for contributions to organizations and programs through tax check-offs is available online at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/content/voluntary-contributions.

PHOTOS

The two photos above, taken in caves in West Virginia, are of Virginia Big-eared Bats, Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus, designated in 2005 as Virginia’s state bat.  This bat is listed on both the federal and state endangered species lists.  For more on this species, see the Virginia Department of Conservation/Natural Heritage Division Web site at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/karst_stbat.shtml.  Photos by Craig Stihler (upper photo) and Jeff Hajenga (lower photo), made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/search/collection/natdiglib/searchterm/Bats/order/nosort.

Sign in Virginia Tech's Liberal Arts Building, April 23, 2015.  Photo courtesy of Eli Archer.


MORE INFORMATION ON BATS AND BAT HABITAT

Bat Classification and Species


Bats are mammals, and are the only ones capable of self-propelled flight.  The over 1000 species of bats worldwide are classified in one order, the Chiroptera, consisting of two main groups: the family of megabats, also called the Old World fruit bats; and several families of microbats, including all of the insect-feeding bats found in Virginia.  The 17 species that have been recording in Virginia are among 45 native species in the United States.  Bat species occurring in Virginia are listed at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ (VDGIF) “Bats/Bat Facts” Web page, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/bats/.  Each species name is linked to additional details about the species.  According to that Web page, “Three of the bat species in Virginia are federal endangered species (Gray Bat, Indiana Bat, and Virginia Big-eared Bat); the Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat, also known as the Eastern Big-eared Bat, is a state threatened and endangered species.”

Bat Habitats

According to VDGIF’s “Bats/Bat Facts” Web page, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/bats/, Virginia’s bat species “are divided into two categories: cave bats and tree bats.  Cave bats hibernate in caves, while tree bats hibernate in leaf clusters, under decaying logs, in hollow trees, or sometimes in abandoned mines or old buildings.”  Cave-hibernating species may use similar areas, such as mines or wells.  Different bat species also use a variety of habitats for roosting (daytime resting), including caves, trees, buildings, other structures, and mines.



Bat Population Status

Decades of Bat Observations Reveal Uptick in New Causes of Mass Mortality, U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 1/19/16.

 
Bat Sounds

Bats make other sounds, or “vocalizations,” beside the ultrasonic (or very high frequency) sounds used in echolocation of prey or obstacles.  Bat communication includes vocalizations between females and young and various calls by males used in mating courtship and in defending territory.

Virginia Cave Week

The observance for 2015 runs April 19-25, and bat conservation is the 2015 theme.  The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s April 8, 2015, news release about Cave Week 2015 is online at this link.  More information about the week, bat conservation, and bats connections to Virginia caves and other karst features is available from the Virginia Cave Board, online at http://www.vacaveweek.com/.

 

SOURCES

Used for Audio
John D. Altringham, Bats—From Evolution to Conservation (Second Edition), Oxford University Pres, Oxford, U.K., 2011.

W. Mark Ford and Hannah Hamilton, “Identifying Bats By Sound; Following White-Nose Syndrome, Acoustic Method Best for Sampling Bats,” U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 2/12/14, online at http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article_pf.asp?ID=3801.

Michael J. Harve, J. Scott Altenbach, and Troy L. Best, Bats of the United States, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville, N.C., 1999.

Phil Richardson, Bats, Firefly Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2011.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Midwest Region, “Glossary of Acoustic Bat Survey Terms,” online at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/inba/surveys/inbasurveyglossary.html.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s White-nose Syndrome Web site, online at https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Division, “Bats of Virginia,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/karst_bats.shtml.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Little Brown Bat,” online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?s=050020.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Bats,” online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/bats/.

Additional Sources
Bat Conservation International, online at http://www.batcon.org/.

National Speleological Society, online at http://caves.org/.

U.S. Geological Survey/Western Ecological Research Center, “Bat Vocalizations—Search Phase Call,” online at http://www.werc.usgs.gov/OLDsitedata/bats/searchphasecall.html.  These are recordings of bat echolocation sounds for which the frequency has been lowered to make them audible to humans (except for one species, where the sounds are already audible).

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Division, “Cave and Karst Protection,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/karsthome.shtml.

OTHER VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES RELEVANT TO BATS OR THEIR HABITATS

Groundwater | EP178 – 9/9/13
Mosquitoes | EP78 – 9/5/11
True bugs | EP237 – 10/27/14
True flies | EP221 – 7/7/14
Virginia caves | EP158 – 4/22/13

For a subject index to all previous Virginia Water Radio episodes, please see this link: http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html.


SOLS INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 (Va. natural resources)
6.9 (public policy decisions on management of renewable or non-renewable resources)

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
3.8 (animal life cycles)
3.9 (water cycle and water as essential for living things)

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
K.6 (distinguishing characteristics of organisms)
1.5 (basic needs of organisms)
2.4 (animal life cycles)
3.4 (adaptations)

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 (living things as part of a system)
3.5 (aquatic and terrestrial food chains)
3.6 (aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including biodiversity and shared resources)
4.5 (ecological interactions)
6.7 (natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring)

Life Science Course
LS. 4 (organism features and classification)
LS.6 (ecosystem interactions)
LS.8 (population interactions)
LS.9 (organism adaptations for particular ecosystems)
LS. 10 (organism and system changes seasonally and over time, including hibernation)
LS.11 (relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity)

Earth Science Course
ES.8 (freshwater resources, including groundwater and karst areas, and influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans)

Biology Course
BIO.8 (dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems, including analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems)

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.





Friday, April 17, 2015

Episode 262 (4-20-15): Freshwater Snails

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:28)

Transcript, photos, and additional notes follow below.


TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of April 20, 2015.

This week we join a springtime stream search for animals known for their shells, slow pace, and slimy trails.  Have a listen for about 40 seconds and see if you can guess this group of animals, before the recording gives it away at the end.

SOUNDS


If you guessed snails, you’re right!  You heard three Virginia Tech students in April 2015 sampling a stream for freshwater snails.  At least 70 species of snails live in Virginia’s streams, rivers, ponds, and other freshwater bodies, and Virginia’s streams in the Ohio River basin are part of one of North America’s most species-rich freshwater snail areas.  Like land snails, freshwater snails have a single shell, which differs in shape and size among different snail families.  Snails make up a large majority of the animals known as mollusks, which also includes bivalve, such as clams, with two shells; squids and octopuses, which have an internal shell; and several other groups.  Aquatic snails use a fleshy foot to attach to rocks, plants, or other underwater surfaces and to secrete the slimy mucus that helps the foot move.  Most freshwater snails feed by scraping algae from underwater surfaces, and this grazing benefits other aquatic organisms.  Snails, in turn, are food for a large number of other animals, including certain fish, amphibians, waterfowl, and turtles.

Slow, slimy, shell-bound—despite an unflattering reputation, freshwater snails are a significant component of aquatic ecosystems.  In fact, to one of the students’ observation that [student voice] “There are a remarkable number of things that look like a snail when underwater,” we’d add that a remarkable number of things underwater are influenced by these widespread mollusks.  One could even say—[student voice] “it’s almost uncanny.”

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.



SHOW NOTES

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 4/17/15.]

Photos

Virginia Tech students searching for freshwater snails in Stroubles Creek in Blacksburg, Va., April 12, 2015.
Freshwater snails in the South Fork Roanoke River near Elliston, Va. (Montgomery County), July 13, 2014.

Acknowledgments

The sounds in this episode were recorded on April 12, 2015, during a freshwater snail sampling session by three Virginia Tech students Daniel Doulong, David Shields, and Dyllan Taylor.  The students were working in a section of Stroubles Creek (a New River tributary) in Blacksburg.  The students were doing a research project on snail populations as a class project in the freshwater ecology course being taught in the spring 2015 semester by Dr. Fred Benfield of the Virginia Tech Department of Biological Sciences.  Thanks to the students for permission to record their work and use their voices in this episode.

Sources for this Episode

Illinois Natural History Survey, “Mollusks,” online at http://wwx.inhs.illinois.edu/outreach/animals/mollusks/.

Paul D. Johnson, Freshwater Snail Biodiversity and Conservation, Pub. No. 420-630, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Blacksburg, Va., 2009; available online at https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-530/420-530_pdf.pdf.

New Hampshire Public Television’s Nature Works Web site, “Squid and Octopus,” online at http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/nwep6f.htm.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Menu=Home.Species+Information.  “Snails” search results on 4/15/15 at this link (234 species).  One can search by common name or scientific name of species or groups.

VDGIF, “List of Native and Naturalized Fauna of Virginia—March 2012,” available online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/virginianativenaturalizedspecies.pdf  (lists freshwater and [in part] terrestrial snails, but not marine species).

J. Reese Voshell, Jr., A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America, McDonald & Woodward, Blacksburg, Va., 2002.

Other Sources of Information about Freshwater Snails or Other Aquatic Mollusks

R. T. Dillon, Jr., et al., The Freshwater Gastropods of North America,” online at http://www.fwgna.org/.  This is an effort to document the species in all 15 families of gastropods in North America north of Mexico.  The Virginia section of the Web site is at http://www.fwgna.org/FWGVA/.

ETI Bioinformatics/Key to Nature Series, online at http://www.keytonature.eu/wiki/ETI_BioInformatics.  The “Marine Species Identification Portal/Molluscs” is available online at http://species-identification.org/index.php?groep=Molluscs&selectie=12&hoofdgroepen_pad=%2C1%2C12.  The site identifies the many species of gastropods and other mollusks (also written “molluscs”) that inhabit marine waters worldwide.

VDGIF, “Freshwater Mussels,” online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/freshwater-mussels.asp; and “Freshwater Mussel Restoration,” http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/awcc/freshwater-mussel-restoration/.

Other Virginia Water Radio Episodes Related to Freshwater Mollusks

Biodiversity - EP260 – 4/6/15
Ohio River Basin rivers - EP108 – 4/30/12; EP162 – 5/20/13; EP184 – 10/21/13
Stream assessment with aquatic macroinvertebrates - EP81 – 9/26/11

For a subject index to all previous Virginia Water Radio episodes, please see this link: http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html.

SOLs Information for Virginia Teachers

This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs)Grades K-6
Earth Resources: 4.9 (Virginia natural resources)
Life Processes: 1.5 (basic needs), 3.4 (adaptations)
Living Systems: 3.5 (food chains), 3.6 (aquatic ecosystems), 4.5 (ecological interactions), 5.5 (organism features and classification), 6.7 (watersheds: snail diversity in Ohio River basin)


Life Science

LS. 4 (features and classification)
LS.6 (ecosystem components and cycles)
LS.8 (population interactions)
LS.9 (adaptations for particular ecosystems)
Biology
BIO.8 (interactions among populations, communities, and ecosystems; including analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems)

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Episode 261 (4-13-15): Virginia's State Water Resources Plan

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:44)

Transcript, photos, and additional notes follow below.


TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of April 27, 2015.

This week, we drop in on a public hearing about a subject that was on the agenda of every Virginia locality at some point between 2005 and 2011, and this month re-emerged at the state level.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds.

SOUND

You’ve been listening to the county attorney of Montgomery County, Va., at an October 2011, public hearing on a water-supply plan and a drought-declaration protocol.  If you’re a Virginia resident, chances are that your town, county, or city’s governing body had a similar public hearing sometime around then, because by November 2011 all Virginia localities had to submit long-range local or regional water-supply plans to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ.  This process was mandated by the Virginia General Assembly, following the severe drought of 1999 to 2002.  Now, the DEQ has incorporated 48 local and regional plans into the statewide Virginia Water Resources Plan, and on April 7, 2015, the agency released a 400+-page draft of that plan for public comment.  The plan is a comprehensive look at the Commonwealth’s surface water and groundwater sources and at the capacity of those sources to meet water demand through 2040, by which time demand statewide is projected to increase by about 32 percent.  Beside increased demand, the plan also identifies several other water-supply challenges and makes recommendations to address them.  Following the public-comment period ending May 8, the DEQ and the State Water Control Board will prepare a final plan for submission to the General Assembly and the governor.  Through this long public-policy process—involving elected officials, water-resource managers, and citizens—Virginia is making probably its most ambitious statewide effort ever to ensure that future citizens are adequately supplied by this kind of process:

SOUNDS – Storm, Stream Flow, Pouring Water – 9 sec.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES 
[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 4/13/15]

Photos
The Virginia Water Resources Plan released (draft form) in April 2015 is a landmark in Virginia’s long history of water-resources management.  The historic reservoir structure shown above was photographed in Newbern (Pulaski County) in June 2013.
Local drought protocols are one part of the Virginia Water Resources Plan, released (draft form) in April 2015.  Shown above is a literally dry Dry River in Rockingham County on November 25, 2007; at the time, over 87 percent of Virginia was rated in “moderate drought” by the U.S. Drought Monitor (see http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/MapsAndData/MapArchive.aspx).

Acknowledgments
The voice excerpts used in this episode were recorded by Virginia Water Radio at the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors meeting in Christiansburg, Va., on October 11, 2011.

This episode updates Episode 85, 10/24/11; the audio for that episode has been archived.

Sources for this Episode
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, State Water Resources Plan open for public comment,” 4/7/15 news release, available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/info/newsreleases.php?show=2499.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Water Supply and Quantity,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity.aspx (see “Water Supply Planning” link for information about the statewide planning process).

Virginia Legislative Information System, Senate Bill 1221 in the 2003 Virginia General Assembly (the bill mandating a statewide water-supply planning process), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=031&typ=bil&val=sb1221. 
Other Sources of Information about Water Supply
U.S. Geological Survey Virginia Water Science Center, “Water Resources of Virginia,” online at http://va.water.usgs.gov/.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Virginia’s Major Watersheds,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/wsheds.shtml.

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Virginia Water Central News Grouper” posts on news, events, and information resources relevant to water supply, online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/category/water-supply/.

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Water Supply Planning on the Agenda in Virginia and Several Other States,” Virginia Water Central newsletter, November 2009, p.7, online at http://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49360.

Some Other Virginia Water Radio Episodes Related to Water Supply Management
Groundwater - EP178 – 9/9/13State Water Control Board - EP94 – 1/9/12
Virginia General Assembly - EP147 – 2/4/13; EP247 – 1/5/15
Water cycle - EP191 – 12/9/13
Water resources degree at Virginia Tech - EP243 – 12/8/14
Winter precipitation and water supplies - EP258 – 3/23/15
Worldwide water needs - EP122 – 8/6/12

For a subject index to all previous Virginia Water Radio episodes, please see this link: http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html.

SOLs Information for Virginia Teachers
This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs).

Grades K-6
6.5 - role of water in human environment
6.9 - public policy decisions

Earth Science
ES. 8 - freshwater resources

The episode may help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs.

World Geography

WG.7 - types of natural, human, and capital resources

Virginia and United States Government
GOV. 8 - organization and powers of the state and local governments
GOV. 9 - process by which public policy is made
GOV. 16 - role of government in Virginia economy

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.