Bat Population Dynamics: an Individual-based Model Approach

Paula Federico
Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI), The Ohio State University

(October 2, 2008 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM)

Bat Population Dynamics: an Individual-based Model Approach


Temperate zone bats are subject to serious energetic constraints due to their high surface area to volume relations, the cost of temperature regulation, the high metabolic cost of flight, and the seasonality of their resources. We developed a model for a female bat that is primarily based on life history and energetics. It describes the growth of an individual female bat using a system of differential equations modeling the dynamics of two main compartments: storage (lipids) and structure (proteins and arbohydrates). The model is parameterized for the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus, because of information available on energy budgets and changes in body mass throughout its life history. However, with appropriate modifications the conceptualization might be applied to other species of bats with similar life histories.

The individual model is integrated into a structured population model.Characteristics of the individuals determine the structure and, subsequently the dynamics of the population. This methodology uses and integrates the information on bat biology and physiology that has been collected primarily at the individual level. Survival and reproductive rates estimated from simulated populations under varying density dependence are comparable to those reported in the literature for natural populations of M. lucifugus. The population model provides insight into possible regulatory mechanisms of bat population sizes and dynamics of survival and extinction. A better understanding of population dynamics can assist in the development of management techniques and conservation strategies, and to investigate stress effects.