Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

NABat: A top-down, bottom-up solution to collaborative continental-scale monitoring

January 17, 2021

Collaborative monitoring over broad scales and levels of ecological organization can inform conservation efforts necessary to address the contemporary biodiversity crisis. An important challenge to collaborative monitoring is motivating local engagement with enough buy-in from stakeholders while providing adequate top-down direction for scientific rigor, quality control, and coordination. Collaborative monitoring must reconcile this inherent tension between top-down control and bottom-up engagement. Highly mobile and cryptic taxa, such as bats, present a particularly acute challenge. Given their scale of movement, complex life histories, and rapidly expanding threats, understanding population trends of bats requires coordinated broad-scale collaborative monitoring. The North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) reconciles top-down, bottom-up tension with a hierarchical master sample survey design, integrated data analysis, dynamic data curation, regional monitoring hubs, and knowledge delivery through web-based infrastructure. NABat supports collaborative monitoring across spatial and organizational scales and the full annual lifecycle of bats.