Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Lynn Robbins

Keywords

bats, prescribed fire, forest management, habitat selection, bat activity

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

In recent years, prescribed fire has become a widely accepted management tool to restore and maintain healthy forests. The effects of prescribed fire on bats are not fully understood and impacts vary depending on species life history and habitat requirements. This study was conducted to further the understanding of how bat communities, with emphasis on federally protected species, may be affected by the fire management plan within the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR), located in south central Missouri. Anabat II bat detectors were used to passively sample bat presence or probable absence within four habitat types between burned and unburned areas (n=214). Standardized mist-net surveys were also conducted to physically documents presence of bat species identified by acoustic analysis. General linear models were used to evaluate how bat species and phonic groups were using habitats and how prescribed fire may influence habitat preferences. I hypothesized that smaller bodied bats that produce echolocation signatures with higher minimum frequencies will be found in more structurally complex habitats; whereas, larger bodied bats with echolocation signatures with lower minimum frequencies will be found in more open, less cluttered, habitats. I also hypothesized that species presence and activity will vary among habitats. Tri-colored bat activity levels were affected by habitat type. No significant differences between habitats or burn treatments were found for any of the other species or species groups. Data suggest a possible negative relationship between mean activity levels for some species and burned bottomland forests. Results from this study can provide information that can be utilized in the fire management planning activities and other park actions relevant to managing important bat habitat features.

Copyright

© Janelle Lee Lemen

Campus Only

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