- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement, wildlife
The purpose of this project is to document the species of bats, the type of landscapes, produce and the diversity of insects found on agroecosystems. The implications of bats on agroecosystems are straightforward: bats consume insects that damage crops. This ecosystem service of natural pest regulation should in turn result in a higher yield, reducing a dependence on pesticides, and all the negative implications of the use of these pesticides on the health of the farmers, the farm, and surrounding environment. However, only a handful of studies fully document precisely the relative impact of different bat species on pest pressures in agricultural landscapes, and practically no work done in subtropical agroecosystems of the Southern US.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Document the abundance and diversity of bats in south Texas agroecosystems. In particular, organic farm versus conventional farms. Also determine if there is a difference between the type of crop such as vegetables versus fruits or grains.
- Determine prey insect abundance at these farms during acoustic monitoring period.
- Test two different kinds of bat houses that will be installed on three different farms in south Texas.
- Compare our data and results with concurrent research with counterparts at The Rodale Institute.
- Disseminate results widely to make accessible to both scientific and farmer audiences. To determine if there is a different of abundance/diversity of bats in organic farms versus conventional farms. Also determine if there is a difference between the type of crop such as vegetables versus fruits or grains.