Wind turbines are associated with the deaths of increasingly high numbers of migrating bats, with some wind farms estimating tens of thousands of bat deaths annually. The widely-held assumption was that the turbines kill bats by generating rapid changes in air pressure in the animal’s lungs – an effect known as “barotrauma” – as they enter the low-pressure field generated by the turning blades.
The team’s study suggests that barotrauma might not be responsible – but rather that the bats are actually colliding with the active turbine blades.
“This study raises some serious questions about the foundation of barotrauma theory in wind farm bats and simultaneously demonstrates by multiple lines of evidence that the collision theory is the basis for most of these deaths,” said University of Iowa scientist David Meyerholz.
For more information, read the full University of Iowa news release.