Using hydrogen isotopes to assign origins of bats in the eastern United States
Stable hydrogen isotopes (dDs) in metabolically inert tissues such as feathers and hair provide a set of endogenous markers that may be useful for establishing migratory connectivity in animals. We tested the assumption of a clear relationship between dD values of growing-season–weighted average precipitation (dDp) derived from 2 geographic information system (GIS) models or latitude (LAT) and dD values in bat hair (dDh), and examined intra- and interspecific variation in dDh of 4 bat species in the eastern United States. We analyzed 251 hair samples from 1 long-distance migrant (eastern red bat [Lasiurus borealis]) and 3 regional migrants (Indiana bat [Myotis sodalis], northern long-eared bat [M. septentrionalis], and little brown bat [M. lucifugus]) captured during the reproductive period (pregnancy and lactation) when bats are resident. LAT explained more of the variation in performed better for some species.