Landscape-scale distribution of tree roosts of the northern long-eared bat in Mammoth Cave National Park, USA

Marissa M. Thalken, Michael J. Lacki, Jian Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context: The roosting habits of many temperate zone bats are well documented at microhabitat scales, but fewer studies have included multi-scale assessments of landscape patterns in bat roost site selection. Objectives: To identify and assess at the landscape-scale the location of spring and early season maternity roosts of female northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) from 2015 to 2016 at Mammoth Cave National Park (MACA), Kentucky, USA. Methods: We used mist-nets and radiotelemetry to catch and track bats to roost trees across the landscape of MACA. Data on roosting sites were evaluated using spatial point pattern analysis to examine distributional trends of roosts. A variety of spatial covariates were used to model the effect of landscape pattern, including: forest type, elevation, and proximity to hibernacula, water, and road corridors. Results: Data indicate that roost locations of female northern long-eared bats in MACA were typically situated within 2000 m of known winter hibernacula, occurring more often at higher elevations in mesic upland deciduous forests, and in close proximity to water sources and roads. We present hypotheses to account for the patterns observed in relation to landscape features and habitat resources in the Park. Conclusions: Our data indicate that a more comprehensive understanding of habitat requirements which includes empirically-based, landscape-scale patterns, and not solely considerations at stand or local levels, could lead to better informed management policies targeting conservation of maternity habitat of forest-dwelling bats, including the northern long-eared bat, a species in decline throughout much of its distribution in North America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1115
Number of pages13
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume33
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank the National Park Service, the Walt Disney Foundation, and the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, for funding support. We are appreciative of R. Toomey (Mammoth Cave National Park), S. Thomas (National Park Service), and L. Dodd (Eastern Kentucky University) for assistance during the planning and implementation of this study. We are grateful to all the field technicians including: E. Stanmyer, B. Daly, T. Walters, M. Barnes, E. Lee, J. Ayres, H. Dykes, S. Zumdick, Z. Hackworth, M. McKenna, E. Kester, S. Fulton, and Z. Fry. All animal handling procedures used were approved by the University of Kentucky under IACUC Assurance No.: A3336-01. Data collection was supported through permits from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (SC1611176; SC1511245) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (TE38522A-1). The information reported in this paper (No. 17-09-048) is part of a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director.

Funding Information:
We thank the National Park Service, the Walt Disney Foundation, and the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, for funding support. We are appreciative of R. Toomey (Mammoth Cave National Park), S. Thomas (National Park Service), and L. Dodd (Eastern Kentucky University) for assistance during the planning and implementation of this study. We are grateful to all the field technicians including: E. Stanmyer, B. Daly, T. Walters, M. Barnes, E. Lee, J. Ayres, H. Dykes, S. Zumdick, Z. Hackworth, M. McKenna, E. Kester, S. Fulton, and Z. Fry. All animal handling procedures used were approved by the University of Kentucky under IACUC Assurance No.: A3336-01. Data collection was supported through permits from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (SC1611176; SC1511245) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (TE38522A-1). The information reported in this paper (No. 17-09-048) is part of a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Bats
  • Landscape patterns
  • Maternity season
  • Myotis septentrionalis
  • Roosting habitat
  • Spatial point pattern
  • Spring staging
  • Winter hibernacula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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