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Professor Vicky Meretsky has turned to digital photography

January 16, 2010

Professor MeretskyDecisions concerning the listing status of a species under the Endangered Species Act require consistent and accurate estimations of that species’ population size and trends – and in order to decrease measurement errors when estimating numbers of hibernating bats, Professor Vicky Meretsky has turned to digital photography. In a paper published in the January issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management “Digital Photography Improves Consistency and Accuracy of Bat Counts in Hibernacula”, Meretsky and her co-authors, including SPEA Professor David Good, shared the results of their research. After surveying clusters of hibernating Indiana bats, the researchers compared results from counts of digital photographs of clusters to results from four variations of visual estimation. Their results showed that digital photography produced more accurate counts than visual estimation methods. They found that where feasible, photography can improve status and trend information for species of concern, permitting more timely and specific management actions.