NABat Project


Creating Project/Selecting Cells

What if my NABat project includes grid cells on the state border? Should I still survey them if < 50% is in my state?

NABat aims to understand status and trends of bat species at range-wide scales, regardless of state or jurisdictional boundaries. Assuming you have access to the entire grid, sample as usual, regardless of partial state ownership. If you have contact information for the landowner/manager in the adjacent state, this could be an opportunity for collaboration. If surveyed appropriately, information from that cell will contribute to state-level analyses for both states.

How should we survey grid cells where 1 or more 5 x 5 km quadrants is in ocean/water? Do we allocate 4 detectors in the quadrants on land or stick to 1 detector per 5 x 5 km quadrant?

Try to allocate 1 detector in each quadrant that is on land. If only 1 quadrant is on land, deploy 2 detectors, in different habitats, within the single land-based quadrant.

How should I allocate effort if only 1 quadrant of a cell occurs within my jurisdictional boundary and I don’t have time or energy to find and coordinate sampling with “owners” of other quadrants?

Please deploy 2 detectors within the quadrant that occurs in your jurisdiction for 4 consecutive nights.

My agency/university/nonprofit is interested in becoming a NABat partner and collecting data. How do I register a new project?

The first step to becoming a NABat partner is requesting an account. Once your account has been approved, you’ll receive an email with a link to create your username and password which can be used to login to the NABat partner portal. Once logged in, new users can create a new project and begin selecting grid cells to survey by clicking the blue "Add New Project" button on the right side of the page.

For more detailed guidance on creating new projects and selecting grid cells for survey, see the video tutorials in the "How to" section of our Resources tab or click here.

Sampling Methods

How flexible is the spatial and temporal sampling (number of detectors, number of nights) within a 10 x 10 km grid cell?

Unless a power analysis has been completed for your region indicating otherwise**, please adhere to the guidance in Loeb et al. (2015), which states that 2-4 detectors should be deployed for a minimum of 4 consecutive nights within each 10 x 10 km (100 km<sup>2</sup>) grid cell. Ideally, 1 detector is deployed in each of the four 5 x 5 km quadrants within a single 100 km<sup>2</sup> grid cell to minimize spatial autocorrelation among detectors. In other words, species detections among detectors within the same grid cell are not independent samples. However, because the goal is to collect a representative sample of the true community of species within that grid cell, detectors should be deployed at a variety of habitat types within the cell.

** A new power analysis tool, R package "dynOccuPow", is currently in development. This package identifies optimal sampling across a region of interest (# grid cells to survey) while ensuring data collected can be used to meet regional objectives. The supporting manuscript, "Statistical power to detect change over time using dynamic occupancy models" (Banner et al. 2019), was recently published and is available for free here.

Is it preferable to survey 4 different habitat types within the cell or to ensure that all 4 quadrants are surveyed?

Sampling habitat types is more important, but the quadrants provide useful guidance to safeguard against deploying detectors too close to one another. Consider the movement ecology for species in your area to ensure detectors are appropriately spaced when deploying > 1 detector in the same quadrant.

What is the ideal sampling window across regions? In California, for example? Will data collected before or after this window be useful?

All sampling should be conducted during the pre-volant maternity season. This will vary by latitude, elevation, local weather patterns, and other variables. Please consult with state biologists or regional bat working groups for specific guidance and the most up-to-date information for species in your area. Links to regional working groups can be found here.

California Forest Service Example:

The Forest Service has lands from low-latitude desert habitats to high-latitude, alpine sites. We have decided on a sampling window of May 6-July 20. With the low latitude, low elevation, and perhaps coastal sites sampled earlier … depends on logistics. If you have the personnel and detectors to get all your units sampled during June 10-July 10, for instance, that would be ideal. - Ted Weller

How are NABat partners gathering weather covariates? Data logger/weather stations with detectors, or online weather station data?

The answer depends on the objective of the analyses. For large-scale NABat status and trends analyses, NABat will rely on weather information from online sources with standard measures collected across large spatial extents (e.g., BioClim). NABat datasheets do include fields for hi/low temperature, hi/low RH, hi/low wind speed, and “significant weather events.” However, measuring these data locally requires installing a small weather station at the site of detector, and protocols have not yet been developed for weather station deployment. Nonetheless, these data can be extremely useful for interpreting variation in acoustic recordings and may be more informative for local-scale analyses than online data from the nearest weather station, which may be several hundred miles away in some cases. Therefore, we encourage participants to collect this information following local/regional protocols, but it is NOT required information at this time.

There are no priority GRTS cells in my area, but I'm interested in contributing data to NABat. Do you want data from non-priority cells?

Yes. When setting up your project, use the NABat cell selection tool to choose all the GRTS cells within the area you plan to work. Once they've been added to the table on the right side of the screen, use the GRTS cell number to claim the highest priority cells within your area for survey (lower GRTS number = higher priority). Detailed guidance on using the cell selection tool is available here. Data from non-priority cells is still valuable and will help inform NABat models.

I've been collecting acoustic data in my area for years, but my methods don't match those outlined in the Plan for NABat. Should I contribute my data anyway? If so, what kind of project should I create (legacy or NABat)?

NABat encourages users to contribute any and all monitoring data they have collected. While some of these data may not be used in our occupancy analyses, they can be used in a number of other ways, including for Bayesian priors. All monitoring data is valuable and informative, and NABat strives to be the centralized database for all North American bat monitoring data, however it was collected. When determining whether to establish a legacy project or a NABat project, the primary consideration should be whether you plan to continue monitoring the cells. If you only wish to contribute historical data, a legacy project is most appropriate. If you plan to continue monitoring, in most instances, a NABat project is most appropriate. However, if you plan to continue monitoring, we strongly encourage you to consider the NABat methodology going forward so that the data can be fully incorporated into regional and continental analyses.

Uploading Data

I've finished surveying all my GRTS cells for this season. What data am I supposed to provide NABat? What is the best method for uploading data?

NABat requires the following data: 1. Site-level metadata: location name, detector type, microphone type, start time, end time, etc. for every location surveyed (should be at least 2 for every GRTS cell) 2. Call-level metadata for every individual .wav or .zc file: file name, auto ID, manual ID, etc. ** Uploading acoustic files (.wav or .zc ) is highly encouraged but not required. A detailed guide to preparing and uploading .wav/.zc files is available here. Users have a number of options for uploading metadata: Metadata for multiple sites/calls can be entered and exported directly through Auto ID software like SonoBat and Kaleidoscope (recommended). Detailed guidance and metadata templates for SonoBat are available here. Guidance and metadata templates for Kaleidoscope are available here. The same data can also be entered manually using the bulk upload templates available here. A detailed guide to uploading bulk metadata manually is available here. Users can upload individual site data by navigating to the project homepage, clicking the blue arrow beside the GRTS Cell ID, selecting the type of survey they conducted, and clicking "Single Entry."

I have data for a cell that I will no longer be monitoring. Should I deselect the cell or maintain the cell as claimed by my project? Is it OK to upload data for a cell that I haven't claimed?

If you do not plan to continue monitoring a cell, deselect that cell so that others will know it is available for future monitoring, even if you plan to upload past data for that cell. Regardless of cell status, NABat will have access to the data and can use it for trends analyses. The purpose of claiming a cell is, in part, to prevent duplication of effort and to inform other users of which cells still need to be monitored. The status of the cell will have no impact on how the data is treated by NABat. However, when establishing a new project, it is important to select a reason for not monitoring cells within your area of interest because this will help inform NABat of inaccessible cells that can be removed from consideration in the statistical sample.

My bulk upload status shows errors. What does that mean?

When uploading a bulk metadata CSV to the NABat Partner Portal, rows that contain any error are rejected and listed under the "Errors Found" column of the "Bulk Upload Status" tab. Clicking the blue hyperlink, which indicates the number of errors, will download a report with complete metadata for each row containing an error and two additional columns listing the row number and the type of error. Users have the option to correct errors in the original metadata CSV and re-upload it to their project (if the filename remains the same, the updated CSV will overwrite the original upload) or make corrections within the error report and upload that CSV to their project.


Is there a formal letter or statement that we can present to private landowners when inquiring about access to sample on their land?

Yes, a formal letter template requesting permission to access private land is available for download on our Resources page or by clicking here. Contact the NABat Coordinating Office ( or your NABat Regional Monitoring Hub if you need help or require additional documentation.

Data Privacy/Use

Where can I learn more about NABat's data and privacy policies?

For the complete account of NABat's policies, please see NABat Terms and Conditions.

Who owns the data I contribute to NABat?

Data remains the property of its contributing NABat user. NABat contributors are responsible for managing permissions for their personal and shared project files and data within the Partner Portal. Users can manage data privacy settings by clicking the "Data Use & Sharing" tab from within a project’s homepage.

Is my data safe with NABat?

Data uploaded to the NABat Partner Portal are stored in a secure, enterprise-level database.

The NABat Partner Portal has been constructed within ScienceBase, a U.S. Geological Survey Trusted Digital Repository. See for more details.

Will my privacy settings prevent my data from contributing to NABat's statistical products?

NABat project items with controlled privacy access settings remain visible to NABat Coordinating Office staff at USGS.

All data contributed to the NABat program may be accessed by the NABat Coordinating Office staff for the following uses: database management and maintenance; published and unpublished annual and multi-annual species assessments and reports; analyses for program assessment and development; detailed reports focused on specific species of concern; and program education and outreach materials. Monitoring data will be used to generate publicly accessible maps depicting species distributions, indices of relative abundance, activity, and derived information on species status and trends.

In assessments, reports and other materials, all data will be reported at the grid cell level (10 x 10 km) unless prior specific authorization is provided by the Partner.

Can I obtain NABat data that is not publicly available?

Registered users wishing to access data from projects for which they are not members are considered third parties and will be required to submit a data request through the NABat Partner Portal. All such requests will be handled in the following manner:

  1. Requestors will be asked to write a short proposal describing their project, the type of data requested, the intended use for which data are being requested, and intended outcomes and products.

  2. The approving Project Leader will receive a notification describing each request that covers data from their project. Dependent on the data use and privacy preferences set by the approving Project Leader, the request will either be auto-approved or the Project Leader will be prompted to provide an “approve” or “deny” response.

After I upload data to NABat, who can access those data?

Access to the NABat monitoring tools is restricted to registered NABat users (“Partners”) for the purposes of submitting and accessing monitoring data.

NABat acknowledges that certain information is considered sensitive (e.g., site-specific coordinates). The accessibility of sensitive data to the public is determined by the data contributor during the data submission process. If the contributor designates data as not publicly accessible, NABat Partners can request and obtain data only through explicit permission of the data contributor.