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What is winter? Modelling spatial variation in bat host traits and hibernation and their implications for overwintering energetics
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  • C. Hranac,
  • Catherine Haase,
  • Nathan Fuller,
  • Meredith McClure,
  • Jonathan Marshall,
  • Cori Lausen,
  • Liam McGuire,
  • Sarah Olson,
  • David Hayman
C. Hranac
Massey University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Catherine Haase
Montana State University System
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Nathan Fuller
Texas Tech University
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Meredith McClure
Conservation Science Partners
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Jonathan Marshall
Massey University
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Cori Lausen
Wildlife Conservation Society Canada
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Liam McGuire
University of Waterloo
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Sarah Olson
Wildlife Conservation Society
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David Hayman
Massey University
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White-nose syndrome (WNS) has decimated hibernating bat populations across eastern and central North America for over a decade. Disease severity is driven by the interaction between bat characteristics, the cold-loving fungal agent, and the hibernation environment. While we further improve hibernation energetics models, we have yet to examine how spatial heterogeneity in host traits is linked to survival in this disease system. Here we develop predictive spatial models of body mass for the little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus) and reassess previous definitions of the duration of hibernation of this species. Using data from published literature, public databases, local experts, and our own fieldwork, we fit a series of generalized linear models with hypothesized abiotic drivers to create distribution-wide predictions of pre-hibernation body fat and hibernation duration. Our results provide improved estimations of hibernation duration and identify a scaling relationship between body mass and body fat; this relationship allows for the first continuous estimates of pre-hibernation body mass and fat across the species’ distribution. We used these results to inform a hibernation energetic model to create spatially-varying fat use estimates for M. lucifugus. These results predict that WNS mortality of newly and soon-to-be infected M. lucifugus populations in western North America may be comparable to the substantial die-off observed in eastern and central populations.
14 Jan 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
15 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
15 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
10 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
17 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
31 Mar 20211st Revision Received
01 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
01 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
09 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Accept