Effects of Orientation and Weatherproofing on the Detection of Bat Echolocation Calls
Ultrasonic detectors are powerful tools for the study of bat ecology. Many options are available for deploying acoustic detectors including various weatherproofing designs and microphone orientations, but the impacts of these options on the quantity and quality of the bat calls that are recorded are unknown. We compared the impacts of three microphone orientations (horizontal, 45u, and vertical) and two weatherproofing designs (polyvinyl chloride tubes and the BatHat) on the number of calls detected, call quality, and species detected by the Anabat II bat detector system at 17 sites in central Kentucky in May and June 2008. Detectors with BatHat weatherproofing recorded significantly fewer call sequences, pulses per file, species per site, and lower quality calls. Detectors in the horizontal position also tended to record fewer files, fewer species, and lower quality calls. These results illustrate potential impacts of deployment method on quality and quantity of data obtained. Because weatherproofing and orientation impacted the quality and quantity of data recorded, comparison of results using different methodologies should be made with caution.