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 Post subject: Re: Hitchhiking Bats on Great Lakes Freighters?
Unread postPosted: October 13, 2014, 3:52 am 
Hello again,

and thank you for your interest in my study! After I posted this forum thread I received a lot of responses to my survey, and they are all very good. Actually the quality of the data is better than I expected!

My initial goal was to get 50 responses, and I am happy to tell you that at the moment we’ve got 52! So what that means is that I will close the questionnaire on Wednesday, 15th of October. If you have not taken the survey yet, you still have two days to do so. After that I will start analyzing the data and hopefully come up with the results in a couple of months.

However, if you want to share a story about bats after I’ve closed the questionnaire, feel free to do so anytime. You can send me an email (selohi@mtu.edu) or just post it here in this thread. I will be checking this forum thread regularly for new replies. Also if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. So far all the stories that I’ve received have been great, and they are really interesting so please keep them coming! They provide a really nice insight to the bat encounters that you have had.

I also received a couple of photos of bats, which was a really positive surprise! We were able to identify one of the bats to species level (it was an eastern red bat), which was great. So if you have taken pictures of bats on board, and would like to share them, just send me an email. We can use them for species identification purposes, in which case we will not re-print or use the picture in any publications whatsoever, if you wish so. But if you give us a permission to use the picture in the final paper/other publications you will of course be properly credited for the photo, or you can remain anonymous.

At the moment this thread has almost 1000 views, which is way more exposure than what I hoped for. I am really thankful for everyone who has helped me with this study, without you it would have been impossible! Thank you so much!

Best regards,
Saska Lohi
Michigan Tech University / the University of Helsinki


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 Post subject: Re: Hitchhiking Bats on Great Lakes Freighters?
Unread postPosted: October 7, 2014, 3:14 pm 
There is a video on YouTube of the Sykes to Kiss music. I think it is Great Lakes Freighters heavy metal style or something like that. In the video a crewman is actually handling a bat.


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 Post subject: Re: Hitchhiking Bats on Great Lakes Freighters?
Unread postPosted: October 7, 2014, 2:02 pm 
Mid 70's we picked up a bunch of them when we were in Gary. They were all over. Had a lot of them inside the cage on the bow thruster stack. They even got in the hallways. I remember after work another deckhand went into the slop sink to wash his hands and there was a half package of paper towels on a shelf and he reached in and instead of grabbing a towel, he grabbed a bat. Never saw a look before like he had on his face.


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 Post subject: Re: Hitchhiking Bats on Great Lakes Freighters?
Unread postPosted: October 7, 2014, 1:23 pm 
We had a few bats run out to us 25-30 miles offshore in the lake. They would land and not move until we got back in shore 28-36 hours after departing. This is a surveying vessel though, not a freighter.


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 Post subject: Re: Hitchhiking Bats on Great Lakes Freighters?
Unread postPosted: October 7, 2014, 11:12 am 
I can't speak for today's situation but when I was working the boats during the 70's brown bats were an everyday occurrence. They used to hide in various secluded corners, stair wells and overheads.
Currently I'm the GM of a Hotel/Convention Ctr in Mackinaw City and where 2 years ago I would have a dozen or more bats tucked away on the outside of the building during the day, now I rarely see any at all. it's a shame as they were very helpful in keeping the mosquito problem under control.


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 Post subject: Hitchhiking Bats on Great Lakes Freighters?
Unread postPosted: October 7, 2014, 8:05 am 
Hello Boatnerds!

I am a graduate student currently trying to finish my master's thesis, and I am doing research about bats in the Great Lakes region.

What I am trying to find out is that are bats hitchhiking in freighters or other ships in this region. To prove if they are actually purposefully hitchhiking is quite difficult, so I am focusing on bat sightings.

It is an interesting subject that has not previously been studied. No scientific survey on the topic has been made with the focus on bats before. What we would like to know is that how often bats are seen on board, when and where, dead or alive and other basic things. We have heard that some people have seen bats on board, but we want to find out how common these sightings are. As you might have heard the latest news, bat populations in northeastern North America are not doing too well due to a deadly fungal disease. Therefore it is really important that we conduct studies about bats while they are still present, in order to find ways to protect these peculiar flying mammals.

I made a short online questionnaire and I am trying to reach some regular Lake sailors to complete it. So if you are currently working on a freighter or other ship, or have been previously working, you are eligible to participate! Completing the questionnaire takes approximately 10 minutes, so I am not asking for a huge time commitment.

It should also be mentioned that all the information obtained will be confidential, and your employer's name or the names of the respondents will not be mentioned in the final paper.

Here's a link to the questionnaire: https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/53403/lomake.html

So if you are a person who regularly sails on any of the Lakes, I really hope that you will participate in the study. Without the help of people like you, studies like this are impossible, so your participation is really important. You can also forward the questionnaire to all the people you know who are working on ships, if you think that they would be interested in participating. I really hope that I get as many responses as possible, as it would greatly help me to finish my studies and it would deepen our understanding about bats and their ecology.

Questions and/or discussion about the study or bats or hitchhiking on freighters are warmly welcomed!

Best regards,

Saska Lohi
Michigan Tech University / the University of Helsinki


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