Filter and Sort


If it weren’t for the neighbors! – urban habitats can benefit bats.

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Richard Puett Environmental Sciences Ellen Hall Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Tory Bennett Environmental Sciences

Bats are critical to their surrounding environment, providing numerous beneficial ecosystem services. For instance, they are natural pest controllers, and in urban environments they can control the mosquitoes that cause West Nile Virus. Nevertheless, loss and degradation of habitat, along with disease, have led to declining bat numbers. Restoring and creating suitable habitat will certainly help encourage bats, but first we need to know what resources bats need to survive, such as water. Many available water resources in urban areas, such as streams, ponds, and drainage ditches are ephemeral and dry up during the hot Texas summers. We believe that bats are able to utilize swimming pools in Texas urban areas, thus we explored this by radio-tracking bats in a local park, Foster Park in Fort Worth. We caught bats in this park using a technique called mist netting. Upon capture, we attached a radio-transmitter which emits a signal that can be picked up by a hand-held receiver. We then followed the bats using the transmitter’s signal and triangulated their position every minute to map their nightly routine. From March to September 2017, we tracked a total of 10 evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis). Using ArcGIS, we mapped the bats flight paths and determined home range sizes. From March to May, and September, we found that bats tracked tended to restrict their movement and remained within or near to the park, however from June to August the bats expanded their home ranges and moving longer distances into local neighborhood. This expansion coincided with drying up of water sources within the park, and included areas with swimming pools. Our finding supports the hypothesis that urban habitats have the potential to maintain healthy bat populations, which in turn can aid bat conservation.

(Presentation is private)


Potential Distributed Power Generation for U.S. Border Stations in Texas and New Mexico

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Clare Wilson Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Becky Johnson Environmental Sciences

Intermittent power outages at Texas and New Mexico border stations has caused significant delays in customs services and information losses through computer shutdowns. The U.S. General Services Administration approached us to address these power quality problems at the border stations through a review of potential distributed generation sources through microgrids to “combat or support” these frequent power outages. The overall aim aside from solving power outages and brown outs at stations is potentially addressing the implementation of renewable energy sources as a power generation for microgrids and coming closer in compliance with Executive Order 13693, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade”. Our approach includes analyzing background information through analysis of GSA documentation and current studies on implementing microgrids in a variety of locations. Current data suggests proposing wind power, solar power, and battery storage based on size and locations of border stations. However, results are pending data collection and GSA input.

(Presentation is private)