Date of Graduation

Spring 2009

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Lynn Robbins

Keywords

eastern red bat, winter, prescribed fire, torpor, forest management

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

Current management practices during winter utilize prescribed fires to increase plant diversity and reduce competition for desired tree species. Concerns have arisen for eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) that utilize fallen leaf litter for roosting during cold (<10oC) temperatures. I studied responses of torpid leaf litter-roosting red bats (n = 18) to stimuli from fires in an experimental open area environment. Latencies of each behavior associated with awareness to the stimuli of fire (first response, arousal, and flight) were correlated to ambient weather parameters temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity at three different time periods. Latencies of all behaviors were significantly negatively correlated to temperatures, showing that higher temperatures corresponded to decreases in reaction times. Increased wind speeds just before the start and during a fire were correlated with latencies of first response and arousal behavior, and were also negatively correlated with latency of flight response throughout the time periods measured. Levels of carbon monoxide throughout a trial were smaller compared to laboratory smoke trials and data from an actual prescribed fire. I recommend conducting winter fires on days when temperatures are >10oC and starting the fire on a north-facing slope in order to give eastern red bats a chance to passively rewarm and react to an imposing fire.

Copyright

© Jason Thomas Layne

Campus Only

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