SYMPOSIUM I: MAMMALS ACROSS THE AGES
Presenters: Jessica Blois, Alexandria Brannick, Greg McDonald, Cory Redman, and Mark Uhen
The Cenozoic is the “Age of Mammals”, made possible by the opening of niches following the sudden mass extinction of Mesozoic reptiles. From that pivotal moment in earth’s history, mammals diversified across land, sky, and sea. In this symposium, we explore the evolution and ecology of mammals throughout their fossil history. The full scope of research on mammals extends over broad geologic time scales. And, paleontological perspectives have been critical in informing current and future study on the conservation and evolution of mammal species. Organizers: Melissa Pardi & Felisa Smith.
SYMPOSIUM II: CRITICAL ISSUES IN BAT CONSERVATION
Presenters: Erin Baerwald, Tina Cheng, Yvonne Dzal, Cris Hein, Susan Loeb, and Rodrigo Medellin
Over the last decade, bats across North America have seen unprecedented mass mortality events and population declines (O’Shea et al. 2016). Species that overwinter in cave hibernacula have been ravaged by White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by fungal pathogen (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) discovered in upstate NY in 2006. Since its discovery, WNS has killed several million bats, leading to the endangerment of multiple formerly common species (Frick et al. 2016). Tree-roosting species that seasonally migrate long-distances do not appear to be affected by WNS, but instead are frequently killed by wind-energy generating turbines. An estimated 0.84 and 1.7 million bats have been killed at wind turbines in the U.S. and Canada from 2000-2011, and this number increases by over 500,000 fatalities annually due to increased wind energy production. Some 78% of wind energy fatalities are of 3 species of migratory tree-roosting bats (Arnett and Baerwald 2013). These threats are especially concerning given the slow life-histories of bats, the limited ability of populations to respond to declines, and the many important ecosystem services provided by bats. Organizers: Erin Baerwald & Joe Cook.